Iowans Receive Message from Mayor of Terravecchia, Italy

Mayor Mauro Santora of Terravecchia, Italy, has prepared the following video message for the 2011 Oelwein Italian Heritage Day.  The video also includes family photos of those who immigrated to Iowa from Terravecchia and their families.  Also included are photos of Terravecchia taken by Donna Debartolo from her recent trip there.

Below the video is the English translation of Mayor Santora’s message.

Hello, my name is Mauro Santoro, Mayor of Terravecchia.  Greetings to all of you who are originally from Terravecchia and  who now live in the United States.  I send you all my personal regards, along with the regards of my administration, the Vice Mayor, our City Council and all the citizens of Terravecchia.  All of us feel very close to all of you who have lived for many years in the United States of America.

In particular, I remember from my research, that there were many families who left Terravecchia  from the years 1901 through 1923 and emigrated to the United States. In particular, I cite the descendants of these emigrants who, even though they have never seen Terravecchia, maintain their connections to our city.   Above all, when they offer their contributions for our patron saint Madonna del Carmine’s feast day. This event is honored and celebrated each year on the first Tuesday after Easter. We celebrate her day with lots of great music and entertainment for one and all.

I would like to acknowledge some of the families who emigrated from Terravecchia, especially the  families Comite, Leo, members of the Pigneri family, Raiolo,  Pisano, Farago, the families Sposato, Baratta, Brufonaro, Rizzuti, Bisignano, Santoro, Alessio, Vulcano, Scigliano, Scorpiniti,  Liguori,  Pirillo, Filippelli, Ciangiaruso, Marasco and Amodeo. Surely I am forgetting some family names, but you must forgive me because these are some very old surnames and it is difficult to remember all of them. However,  I remember all of those fellow citizens who found it necessary leave Terravecchia for America. I send special greeting to the children, grandchildren and all the relatives of our emigrants.

I am very happy to hear that you all get together each year to celebrate and to remember your roots.  The community of Terravecchia feels very close to all of you. I want you to know that I, and the city administration, feel very close to all of you. We thank you for your monetary gifts, especially  those you sent to us after the World Wars.  These gifts helped to sustain the families here and helped them emerge from a disastrous situation.

I am happy  that many of you  and your family members, feel the desire and the need to rediscover your roots and come here to visit us.  I am very passionate about historical research and have written six books about Terravecchia.  It pleases me greatly when I am able to provide historical data which helps people connect to their roots in Terravecchia.

I invite all of you to come to Terravecchia. I, along with some of my City’s officials,  hope to visit all of you in America to participate in one of your reunions there so that you will feel even closer to the community of Terravecchia and shorten the geographical distance between us.

Terravecchia remains a very small town, but one that is growing economically. A town that keeps the old memories and traditions alive. For example, in the way in which we celebrate the feast of our Patron Saint Madonna del Carmine each Spring with great honor. This year  2011, in particular, we are having a party  to celebrate 90 years of our re-establishment as an autonomous  city.  In 1910 Terravecchia was assumed as a part of the City of Cariati, and then in 1921, Terravecchia was re-established as a separate city. We announce with joy that in August, our Church of Santa Maria will be named a Diocesan Sanctuary by our Archbishop, Santo Marciano. This is a great honor for us, to be recognized.  To know and understand our deeply religious history is a boost for the city as many pilgrims and visitors will come here to pray.

I renew my best regards to all of you, your families, and encourage you to maintain this connection.  And I, along with other city officials, hope to visit you all in America soon.   Again, I thank you for your attention.  Best wishes and prosperity to all of you. Have fun and our very best to you all.


  1. jim amodeo says:

    Enjoyed the message and the compilation – thanks. Question:
    do you have any names associated with the pictures embedded in the narrative? One at 5:55 in time looks like some of my Amodeo, Alessio and Leo relatives.

  2. mark librande says:

    my grandfather CHARLIE LIBRANDE came from TERRAVECCHIA…He was born in 1887….came on ship about 1900….I would love to know more of his family history there…thank you..Mark Librande

  3. Diane (Amodeo) Johner says:

    I would like more information and pictures of the families Amodeo and Rizutti

  4. james anthony pigneri says:

    my mother and father came to states from tervecchia. My mother (rose farao daughter Antonio and lucia farao) in 1921 and my father in 1939 vicenzo pigneri son sam and Beatrice pigneri. My aunt still lives there if she is still living Maria Allesio. I would love speak to any of my family still in Italy.

  5. Debra Bozak says:

    My grandmother came to America in 1914 she was born in Terravecchia Her fathers Name Vincenzo Terravecchia Her Mother Was Mariana Lovetere Would Love to hear from any relatives. Any photos would be much welcomed

  6. I would like to know if my relatives , Giudicessi, live in this town of Terravechi, Italy. Thank you so very much. My Father James Joseph Giudicessi of Iowa, my Grandmother Grace Giudicessi and my Grandfather Frank Giudicessi came to Iowa from Italy. I’m not sure of the town but would love to know. My Father has passed away and it’s very important for me to know where my family is from. If you could help me with this I would be so very grateful. Thank you so much for your time. God Bless You and Your Family. Sincerely Patricia Ann Giudicessi

  7. Julie Federico says:

    Hi, I don’t know if you still look at this thread, but I wanted to see if you knew anything about Samuel D. Federico’s family from Terravecchia? He would have immigrated to Iowa about that time. I am his great granddaughter and I live in Fresno, California. My Dad is 73, Samuel B. Federico, and I have great uncles who are still living, Charles Federico, and Leonard Federico, who would be Samuel D. Federico’s sons. If you have any information on the Federico’s, we’d love to see it. Thanks,
    Julie A. Federico.

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