Rediscovering Scranton, Rediscovering America

Albert Einstein once said that “You can’t use an old map to explore a new world.” With the COVID-19 pandemic, people are beginning to look at familiar places and experiences in a fresh way. Zoom has revolutionized how we connect with people, and “staycations” are becoming the norm, rather than the exception. My COVID-19 experience…

Ties to the Homeland: Dunmore’s Bunker Hill

More than a hundred years ago, a group of Italian immigrants arrived in what is now known as the Bunker Hill section of Dunmore, Lackawanna County. From their small southern Italian town of Guardia dei Lombardi, located east of the city of Naples, they took with them their traditions, including a devotion to St. Rocco,…

Amedeo Obici: The Italian American Peanut King

“Everyone has a nickel.” That realization was what led Amedeo Obici to create a lasting empire. Obici came to the United States from Oderzo, Italy, in 1889 at the age of 10. Originally planning to go to Scranton, Pennsylvania to join relatives, a mix-up en route from Brooklyn led him to Wilkes-Barre, where he was…

The ‘Anima’ of Jessup: La Corsa dei Ceri

It’s not just an event—it’s an outward manifestation of something felt so deep within the community of Jessup, Pennsylvania, that it can only be described as “anima,” or “soul.” In 2020, while forces beyond their control caused their event to be canceled, the “anima” of Jessup still shined through. La Corsa dei Ceri, the annual…

St Lucy’s: The Shining Stone of West Scranton

Two soldiers lay dying. The Italian soldier beseeches Jesus Christ to take his soul to Heaven while the war rages on behind him. To his left, an American soldier prays the same prayer to the Blessed Mother. Brothers in arms, now brothers in marble. Every day for nearly 100 years, the sun rises and sets…

Why is this blog called “Siamo NEPA?”

I began studying the Italian American community of Northeastern Pennsylvania when I was in college at The University of Scranton, nearly 20 years ago. Since those days, I have been fortunate enough to publish three books on my area’s Italian American community. I have also written many articles and presented many lectures on our community…