The people came to enjoy a weekend of everything Italian and they were not disappointed. From the sounds of accordions, the beautiful tenor voice of...
The Italian American Heritage Foundation, hosts of the Italian Family Festa being held on August 23 and 24, will have Adrian Nestor, of the Romaggi Adobe Association, attending this year’s Festa. Mr. Nestor will present the story of a very Italian piece of California’s 49ers gold rush history as part of the Festa’s Cultural Center educational program.
The tale of the Romaggi Adobe begins during the California Gold rush near the town of Angels Camp. One lucky gold miner was an Italian immigrant and stone mason from Liguria named James Romaggi. He managed to carve out his fortune mining in the Mother Lode and in 1852 used his masonry skills to replicate his ancestral home in Romaggi near Genoa. He built the home for his wife Louisa and their five children where they lived on the top floor.
It originally had a general store, bar and card room on the first floor providing valuable services to the local 49ers. Romaggi must have been a very good mason for his building still stands near the town of Angels Camp and is a living testament to the desire of the early immigrants to bridge their homeland with their new land.
The Romaggi Adobe building is the focus of Nestor’s passion to rebuild it and preserve this remarkable link to California’s rich Italian history. The story of the adobe, the restoration effort, and how bay area residents can help, will be part of Nestor’s presentation during this year’s Festa. The Italian American Heritage Foundation is honored to be lending their support to help save this important bit of early California and Italian American history. More information can be found at www.save-romaggi-adobe.com.
“Let’s not forget all the other exciting additions this year,” remarked Ken Borelli, Cultural Committee Chair, Italian American Heritage Foundation. “The Cultural Center at the Italian Family Festa will have many displays rich in Italian heritage yet still relevant to today’s generation. Mr. Borelli went on to say, his committee has been working long and hard to make this the best cultural display at any festival on the West Coast. We hope everyone will come and enjoy the Festa and learn something while they are here.
New this year will be La Famiglia Roots Project – family histories, genealogy, library documents and historical sources and the Romaggi Adobe presentations. The Festa will also be honoring the 20th Anniversary of the publishing of La Storia Segreta – the internment of Italian Americans during World War II and a special exhibit of World War II brides. Not to be overlooked, there will also be Italian lace makers, weaving their craft and sharing their secrets for creating fine Italian lace, readings of Italian folklore and the Festa’s can’t miss, and ever popular, “From Where did your Family Migrate?” maps, stop by and add your family history.
Now in its 34th Year, the Italian Family Festa is the chance to spend a day experiencing what Italians grow up knowing; sharing a day with family and friends, savoring authentic Italian foods, playing bocce, engaging in a grape stomp, experiencing culinary demonstrations, enjoying a wine tasting garden, shopping the Italian marketplace and comfortably soaking in the culture and beauty is what Italian means.
“The Italian Family Festa is a labor of love, the planning committee and the onsite workers are 99% volunteers,” beamed Joe Rizzi, Italian Family Festa Director. “It truly takes a village to put on this Festa. I feel privileged to lead such a passionate, creative and generous group of people. We invite everyone in the community, Italian or not, to come out and spend the day with us. Stroll the park, enjoy the music, dance a little, sing a little, sip some wine, and experience ‘La Dolce Vita Italiana’.”
This year’s Italian Family Festa will be held on Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24, Guadalupe River Park in San Jose. Admission is Free. More information can be found at italianfamilyfestasj.org.