Federazione Abruzzese del Michigan

Abruzzo…. Strong and Gentle


By Antonio DiGiorgio

Vice-President of the FADM

Two appropriate adjectives coined by the diplomat and journalist Primo Levi during a visit to Abruzzo in the distant 1888. Strong and Gentle, for him it represents the natural beauty of the region and the character of its inhabitants.

For us Abruzzesi we have thought a lot about this idiomatic phrase, and it is true that the region has a variety of natural beauties, in summer, such as the Abruzzo National Park, then a chain of mountains dominated by the Gran Sasso, giving us the natural beauty in winter. The kindness of its inhabitants can be confirmed during its 15 thousand years of history; therefore “strong and gentle” from the beginning.

The beauty is still present today, unfortunately for lack of work millions of Abruzzesi emigrated around the world in the past century. These emigrants went through a sea of ​​sacrifices, loneliness, and then to be despised because they did not speak the language of the new land. In this transhumance of human beings they were able to face their new daily life with their attitude of “strong and gentle”.

In doing so, many Abruzzesi have reached goals that could not be achieved by remaining in the region. Some characters of the region to note, even if they are not emigrants are:

Pope Boniface IV from San Benedetto dei Marci, Benedetto Croce from Pescasseroli, Gabriele D’Annunzio from Pescara, finally Teofilo Patini from Castel Di Sangro, who is my great grandfather .

A review of Abruzzesi of some notoriety abroad are: Mike Pompeo, an American Secretary of State, from Pacentro, Mario Lana from Tocco de Causuria, Juan Manuel Fangio from Chieti, Tommy La Sorda Chieti, Perry Como from Palena, Henry Mancini from Scanno, Rocky Marciano Chieti, Al Martino from Pescara, Dean Martin from Montesilvano, and Madonna from Pacentro, and there are many others on the list.

It should be noted that their character has exposed their Abruzzo region all over the world, following the traditions handed down by their parents.

For we unknown Abruzzesi, we are content to meet monthly at our club to continue sharing our traditions, in doing so, we raise the idealism of the Abruzzo region.

Between the first and second generation we are about 250 members. We are a nice little group that meets once a at the Italian Cultural Center, (IACS). We have many activities that represent the region: Annual Charity Gala, Parade with our float for: Memorial Day and Columbus Day , Annual Picnic, Festa Abruzzese party , Bocce competition with other clubs, and many other activities that keeps us busy all year round.

In a year of Covid-19 everything has stopped, protection for oneself and others is imperative to defeat this virus. With the vaccine at the door we hope for a complete victory, thanks to God. While we are all waiting for this miracle, I want to encourage all the Abruzzesi people who read this article to associate with us, thus enriching the group of new faces. Even if only the “Meta” (half) of you feels Abruzzese, via marriage or kinship, you are welcome. Even for those who want to participate as friends of Abruzzo, you are welcome. Please review our website at www.fedabruzzo.org for past events and a calendar of events for 2021or call me at 586-322-9575 or contact any Board member for a membership application.

A return to normality is imminent, so join us, in doing so we can continue to pass on the Abruzzese customs and traditions.

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