i-ItalyNY - 2016 - 05|06 - page 9

June-July 2016
Aspecial rapport
Add to that an era of immigration, the gap
between the old world and new – further
augmented for Italian Americans by
the language barrier – and the situation
becomes more peculiar. Grandparents
really do become the “roots,” the element
anchoring grandchildren to their fascinating,
mysterious ancestral identity. In fact, as
has been noted, third generation Italian
Americans are much more likely than
their own parents to develop an interest in
rediscovering their roots, in visiting their
ancestral land, and even in studying the
language. In many cases, that interest is due
to the special rapport they have with their
This isn’t merely about affection or the
search for stability or a need for meaningful
landmarks – however important those
things are in our historical moment, when
every certainty seems to be going up in
smoke. There’s a genuine connection
between grandparents and grandchildren
in Italian-American culture. Having been
born in America, the parents have lost their
linguistic ties to Italy and cannot explain
“where we come from.” Grandparents can.
Whether they were born in Italy and came
here with their own parents or whether
they were born in America, grandparents
represent the connection to our cultural
identity, a connection that is vital for
grandchildren to face the present and
envision their future.
Themagic of family
Out of these considerations came the
idea to launch our series of conversations
between grandparents and grandchildren
of Italian ancestry. The term “conversation”
is central to the project, which grew out of
a wonderful collaboration between i-Italy
and ANFE, the national Italian Association
of Emigrant Families, and was supported by
the Department for Italians Abroad of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Conversations then, not interviews.
The format is neither journalistic nor
documentarian. There are no interviewers
posing questions, no professors giving
critiques, no experts interrupting to “explain”
things. There is a reason behind this
decision.We want to allow grandparents and
grandchildren to tell their own story and ask
each other questions, penning another page
of their relationship together, even if they
happen to be on camera. The magic of their
relationship is the star of the show.
Of course we directed the conversation.
But we did so in hands-off fashion, trying
not to intrude, allowing each grandparent-
grandchild pair to let their guard down, to
talk as leisurely as possible in the comfort of
their own homes. The intensity and ease of
family, rather than sociology, set the tone of
this journey into the Italian soul of America.
Did we succeed? Our audience will have to
judge for themselves.They can follow us
this summer, as they have for the past four
every Sunday at 1 pm on NYC Life
NewYork’s public TV channel, as well as
online.We will also publish some of the most
appealing extracts of these conversations in
this magazine—and as always, you can watch
the video by scanning the QR code with
Letizia Airos is a co-founder and the Editor-in-
Chief of the i-Italy Network; Ottorino Cappelli is
its other co-founder as well as Project Manager.
Gaetano Calà is the national director of ANFE.
your smartphone. Our series begins with a
conversation between
Matilda Raffa Cuomo
and her granddaughter
Amanda Cole
, which
you can find in the following pages.
This project explores the relationship between different generations of Italians in America and
is narrated firsthand by the protagonists. Grandparents and grandchildren tell their stories in a
conversation that touches on central issues concerning Italian identity.
We’d like to ask you all to help make this project a unique social and educational
adventure that will bring together stories, pictures and videos made both by us
and by yourselves. Join us in this extraordinary journey into the Italian soul of
There are several ways you can contribute
Ask the i-ItalyTV crew to come to your place and film
your conversations with your grandparents or grandchildren. In
the next months our editors will start looking for stories to be
included in the project and aired on TV as part of our weekly show.
Write to
Film your own stories and share them—
create a slide show or you can even write your stories and email
them with your favorite pictures. We’ll screen, edit and collect all
thesematerials ina social space on the Internetwe aredeveloping
for the project. Contact us via
Help i-Italy raise funds to cover the costs of this
ambitious project. Filming, editing, collecting all the materials
and managing the website—all this has a cost and we need your
support. So, make a donation. No amount is too small and every
dollar helps! This endeavor is supported by the Italian American
Digital Project, Inc. a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation that may accept
donations by individuals, corporations and other non-profit entities.
All donations are tax-free
ItalianAmerican Digital Project, Inc.
isa501(c)3nonprofitcorporation (tax
ID: 262748551) and may accept donations by individuals, corporations, and other nonprofit organizations
In compliance with the regulations established by the Internal Revenue Code,the gifts are tax-deductible
Donations may be made by check, wire transfer, or online via payPal or Credit Card (please state as your
reason: “Grandparents and Grandchildren in Italian America”)
: Make checks payable to: Italian
American Digital Project, Inc.and mail it to 140 Cabrini Blvd Suite 108,NewYork,NY,10033
Italian American Digital Project, Inc., Account # 7926035937; Routing # 026013673; TD Bank, 317 1120 Avenue
Of The Americas, New York, NY, 10036
(PayPal or Credit Card) please visit:
For more information on how to contribute please contact us via email:
Nonni e nipoti nell’America italiana
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