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How Fra Noi helped me find my family

Having lost his father, first to divorce and then to an early death, Joseph Garofalo’s life was transformed when a Fra Noi profile led him to his extended family by his Dad’s second marriage. During the past year, I was reunited with my long lost family as a result of an article Leonard Amari wrote about me that was published in Fra Noi. The following describes how this happened. My parents were divorced when I was a baby. My mother and her parents raised me. My father, Denphon (“Danny”) remarried and had three more sons, my half-brothers, Mark, Chris, and ...

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Saving San Filippino

An Italian American language instructor from Nashville, Tenn., Rita Richardson has embarked on a global campaign to restore a gorgeous baroque chapel in a small Tuscan town. “No one in the U.S. is going to care about your abandoned little church in Italy,” our priest told us. “I wouldn’t waste the time and effort.” Rather than heed Father’s discouraging counsel, I steadfastly set off on my mission: to save San Filippino, a stunning 17th-century baroque chapel in a little-known town in Tuscany. Castiglion Fiorentino is a long name for a small town perched on a hill between the Val di ...

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Exploring the land of Puccini

One of history’s most revered operatic composers, Giacomo Puccini presence is felt throughout his hometown of Lucca. In a country that is as synonymous with music as Italy, it takes supreme self-confidence to bill yourself as the city “where music feels at home.” Yet the city that lays claim to this title is not bel canto Naples nor operatic Milan but little Lucca — a jewel of a Tuscan town of 90,000 that was home to legendary composer Giacomo Puccini, the creator of such world famous works as “La Bohème,” “Madame Butterfly” and “Tosca.” So revered is Puccini in Lucca ...

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New land, new life, new name

Donato DiCarlo morphed into Dan DeCarlo on his way to achieving the American Dream. The warm June dawn reflected blindingly off skyscraper and seawater alike, shrouding the lady in silhouette. Donato, a tall handsome lad, had heard about the great statue in the harbor, a gift from France 20 years earlier, and hoped to see her, but the angle of the sun made it difficult. Like everything about his 16 years, nothing had come easy. Donato spoke no English, only his native Italian. Neatly dressed in a roughly woven brown suit, the best he could scrape together for the voyage, ...

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