Every year since 2007, “Thirty-One Days of Italians” has provided a list of accomplished Italian Americans and Italians to honor for each day in October, Italian American Heritage Month. On the website, thirtyonedaysofitalians.com, more than 70 extraordinary people of Italian heritage are recognized for their significant contributions to America, with a condensed biography and links to selected resources provided for each person.
Fifteen are Honorary Members, on the list every year. Undeniably, every person on the list is remarkable, but the Honorary Members’ contributions are deeply ingrained in America’s growth and culture: from becoming the namesake of our country to forming the foundation for the U.S. Declaration of Independence; from revolutionizing the banking system to advancing technologies in science and communications; for their heartfelt compassion in assisting immigrants; for becoming part of American society in art, architecture, education, leisure, and music; and – of course – for the man who connected an unchartered land to Europe.
In alphabetical order, they are Father Pietro Bandini, Constantino Brumidi, Mother Francis Cabrini, Enrico Caruso, Christopher Columbus, Enrico Fermi, Amadeo Pietro Giannini, Guglielmo Marconi, Filippo Mazzei, Antonio Meucci, Maria Montessori, Andrea Palladio, Antonio Pasin, Arturo Toscanini, and Amerigo Vespucci.
The greatest honor, though, goes to Italian immigrants. Our ancestors who had the fortitude to leave their beautiful country and travel to a land that not only offered them hope, but also allowed them to bestow the legacy of opportunity to their descendants. The first day in October is set aside to honor them, because if not for their journeys to America, where would we be?
The last day of October has numerous connotations, so it is a fitting day to honor any person of Italian heritage. Maybe a family member or an entire family, a friend or friends, or your personal superstar.
With just 14 days remaining, the other notables of Italian heritage are rotated each year, giving everyone on “Thirty-One Days of Italians” a chance to have their day – even if it is only once every four to five years. This year, the list includes a Revolutionary War hero; a Jesuit missionary who may soon be canonized a saint; a former soldier who partnered with La Salle in exploring the Mississippi River and claiming the Louisiana Territory for King Louis XIV; and a cowboy who became a Pinkerton undercover detective crossing paths with Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy, Wyatt Earp, and many more legendary personalities of the Wild West.
The list also includes pioneers from the mid-20th century who impacted medical research, fashion photography, ice-rink surfacing, hang gliding, frozen food, and many other industries. The 2021-22 List includes (in alphabetical order) John Buscema, Eusebio Francesco Chini (Kino), Fred De Luca, Enrico de Tonti (Henri), Robert Charles Gallo, Jeno F. Paulucci, Leonard Riggio, Francis Rogallo, R.A. Salvatore, Giorgio Santelli, Francisco Scavullo, Charles Angelo Siringo, Giuseppe Maria Francesco Vigo, and Frank Zamboni.
Spend some time with these Italian American icons. Read their biographies, view the resources provided and immerse into their lives for an hour or two. Then share your knowledge with others. Education is the key to preserving Italian American history, heritage and culture.
See the complete calendar of names and learn more about them at Thirty-One Days of Italians 2021-22 List.