Discovering La Famiglia: The Port of Naples

Over the next few months in this column, we will be exploring our Italian heritage from the perspective of our ancestors’ life experiences. This month’s focus is on the process of obtaining an Italian passport and traveling to the port.

Before a steamship ticket could be purchased, Italy required its citizens to have a valid passport. It is interesting to note however that the U.S. did not require incoming Italian immigrants to have a passport until the enactment of the Quota Act of 1924. To start the passport application process, the individual contacted their local mayor (sindaco) who could issue a certificate (nulla osta) stating that there were no objections to the immigrant leaving and effectively clear the


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