Italians, with the richness and diversity of their Italian heritage, have contributed many of the most profound thinkers, poets, artists and composers to the glory of Western civilization – such as Cicero, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Galileo, Croce, Virgil, Horace, Dante, Petrarch, Giotto, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Bernini, Vivaldi and Verdi, and renowned historical figures as Columbus, Vespucci, Charlemagne, Garibaldi, as well as, such outstanding men of science as Galvani, Volta, Marconi and Fermi.
The Italian nation, from the original grandeur of the Roman Empire to modern day Italy, attracts more American tourists than any other European country.
In Roman times, Italian culture was brought to the Western world by conquest and in modern times by immigration. Italians have made immense contributions in many foreign lands and especially in the United States. Achievements in literature, art, music, architecture, business, science, politics and sports have enriched the lives of all Americans. Italians and Italian-Americans are a bit of a group of people who have changed the course of history.
Our modern time Italian-Americans, such as:
Father Giovanni Grassi, president of Georgetown College in Washington, D.C.
William Paca, Governor of Maryland and a signer of the Declaration of Independence
Amadeo Giannini, founded the Bank of Italy banker in San Francisco and owner of one of the largest financial institutions in the world, The Bank of America (BAC).
Frank Capra, film director
Angelo Rossi and Joseph Alioto, Mayors of San Francisco
Mother Francesca Cabrini, founder of the Missionary Sister of the Sacred Heart
Fiorello H. LaGuardia, Mayor of New York and U.S. Representative to Congress
have attained financial success, received recognition in cultural activities or played an influential role in public life.
Additionally, our modern time Italian-Americans have been singers, movie stars and sports figures:
Enrico Caruso, an operatic tenor.
Ezio Pinza, opera singer.
Anna Marie Alberghetti, actress
Rudolph Valentino, actor
Perry Como, singer, actor and television personality
Jimmy Durante, actor
Guy Lombardo, bandleader, violinist, and hydroplane racer.
Frank Sinatra, singer
Dean Martin, singer, actor and comedian
Vic Damone, pop and big band singer, actor
Primo Carnea, professional boxer and wrestler
Joe DiMaggio, baseball center Rocky Marcianno, professional boxer.
“As Italian-Americans, the immigrants, their children and grandchildren are Italians no longer, even if, for a while at least, many are not yet Americans. However, the time is near when in the United States, there will be no Italian-Americans but simply Americans of Italian decent and with Italian names. At this point, their history will cease to be linked with that of the Italian people and will merge into the history of the American people.”