Federico Fellini, five-time Academy Award-winning Italian filmmaker, allegedly said, “Language is culture and culture is language.” It sounds like a slogan, but it actually represents the deep meaning behind the founding of L’Italo-Americano 105 years ago.
This newspaper began as a point of reference for the community of Italian immigrants in California, by featuring their stories, leading figures, social initiatives, and Italian-themed events. Flipping through its pages, Italian-Americans find major news from Italy written in Italian, their native language.
As time went by, L’Italo-Americano became a sort of heart and home, a habit, a shelter where the Italian traditions, recipes, dialects, religious holidays, and all kind of cultural connections left behind are still preserved.
Today the paper aims to be also a bridge towards the future, instead of just living in the past with its bittersweet, distant, homesick, or faint memories. Quoting one of Fellini’s most celebrated movies, L’Italo-Americano wishes to be not only an old “Amarcord.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean to cut the ties with Italy: the Italian language is firmly maintained as part of the newspaper’s cultural heritage, as well as the Italian legacy in terms of social traditions and values. Nevertheless, at the same time, it aims to represent the trait d’union with the present life experience of Italian-Americans who are fully integrated in the U.S. culture, and often unaware of the background of their own parents, grandparents or great-grandparents, who emigrated to the United States many years ago.
Therefore, L’Italo-Americano is using all of the new means of communication brought forth by the internet revolution, offering a wide range of services to enable a daily contact with the Italian culture through Facebook, Twitter, the web site, and the paper’s online version, digital photographs, and videos. Both contents and layouts are constantly updated in order to move with the times and to attract new readers, but always taking into consideration the interests and needs of loyal and long-standing subscribers.
Human resources are also a crucial asset, and new collaborators are welcome to join the team and share their ideas, contributions, and initiatives. Equally important and valued is the newspaper’s Italy-based staff, which allows L’Italo-Americano to maintain direct access to the reality of a country that is close to the heart, but still far in distance.
The main goal of L’Italo-Americano is to present its readers with an authentic portrait of Italy by those who are able to convey its real spirit, feelings, and ideas by experiencing them every day. This is the only way for Italy to be seen as it actually is from this side of the Atlantic, instead of as the common pizza-spaghetti-mafia-bel canto stereotype.
Italy is much more than that, and the effort of L’Italo-Americano’s staff—that is the weekly contribution to promote the Italian Heritage, which is celebrated this month—is always focused on different aspects of the Belpaese.
If, as Federico Fellini said, “a different language is a different vision of life,” then by preserving our native language and cultural heritage we are able to enrich with the Italian DNA, the genetic heritage and social fabric of the United States of America.
I Wish you all a Happy Columbus Day.