Generations of Italians

"A place to go to."

Here on Federal Hill there are some people who were not even born in Italy, and during the festivals they wear shirts saying ''I'm Italian", or they wear shirts with the Italian flag to say that they are Italian, but they know nothing of Italy. They only have an italian name.

I’m not talking about everybody on Federal Hill. There are some who know about Italy. Some who were born there, or traveled there. But there is always that small group of people who know nothing. They think they know everything, but they don't.

I think that some people lived here years ago, they succeeded and they didn’t want to stay here on Federal Hill, so they moved to Cranston, Warwick , etc., now they hear that Federal Hill is “re-born” so they want to come back here, the place they walked away from! The reason for this is as follows: people who do not live on Federal Hill, call it “the Italian ghetto” because it is a place where most Italian live.

According to me, Federal Hill is not a ghetto. It is a community very close knitted where the families have known each other for many years, and it is almost like being in Italy because if one goes away from Federal Hill and moves to Cranston most likely he does not know who is his nextdoor neighbor and does not care about it. Instead on Federal Hill they are all friends. If one has a problem he can go to the other house and talk about his problem because they are friends.

...“molto uniti” like in Italy. Jealous yes, but very close. A strange thing, but true. I noticed that Italians are jealous people among their own families, too, but if there is a crisis of any kind, they are always close.

Henry J. Marciano, June 13, 1978
Federal Hill Project

The above interview actually takes place in Italian and was transcribed and translated by the interviewer 

Generations of Italians