Being Italian-American

So originally I was planing on doing a shoot in Boston’s famous North End. The idea was to take the most Italianate sections of the district and channel my heritage into a v classy shoot celebrating my culture – especially since when my family came to this country, they came to Boston. When I got to the North End, however, parking was a nightmare. All I wanted to take some nice pictures and maybe go grab a cannoli, but no, the mal’occhio was clearly shining down on me and that didn’t get to happen. So instead, my lovely go-to photographer Kelsey and I were driving in the suburbia of the Greater Boston Area and stumbled on the Leaning Tower of Pizza. Yes, pizza. Not, Pisa. Lightbulb went off in my head and I was like, “I’m going to take the shoot here and just make it cute and fun.” So that’s what you’re getting today – cute and fun.

So my look is pretty stereotypical Italian with the Italia Rugby (I got it for 75% off at Saks a few years back, so go me) and my suede loafers (also on sale for only 30% from Aldo). The images and the story speak more in this post than the actual clothes.

About half a mile down from the Tower of Pizza was this giant, abandoned cactus from a former steakhouse chain. I literally could not even think about passing up the opportunity to shoot there. I felt like I was in the MidWest. Route 66. Home of the range. Not my cup of tea, but the aesthetic though. Aesthetic goals TBH.

There were even abandoned grocery carts. I mean, come onnnnnn, you had to expect me to have to sit in it and get some humorous pics.

So now that you’re all enjoying me laughing at myself and this epitome of Americana, let me let you in on some family history. The early person to come to this country was my great grandfather, Rocco, who went back and forth from Boston and Calabria working and sending money back to my family to survive in impoverished Italy. My dad’s family began to trickle into Boston and Connecticut until the mid-1950s.

On the other hand, my mom’s family came a little bit later. They actually were in Libya in the 1930s, ’40s and  ’50s and had titles. My great grandfather had an underground railroad for Jews to escape through Italy to sanctuary in other countries. He was killed in a concentration camp for his deeds. Go great grandpa.

The last person to make it to America was my mom’s dad. He came after he married my nonni (grandma) back in Abruzzo in 1961. he wasn’t naturalized until after my mom was born.

My parents met when they were 19 working as waiters at a banquet hall owned by a family from the same village as my dad’s family (side note: the family now owns all of the Sonic’s in Connecticut). They were married at 25, had me at 30, and have spent the last 30+ years building themselves up from nothing. To get candid, my mom grew up on welfare, moving constantly.

My parents taught me to appreciate everything, love, respect, and care for everyone, work hard, and just be good. They’ve been able to give me what they didn’t have and I’m forever grateful to them and every influence in my life.

Now, I hope you enjoy all of the quirky, funny pictures in this shoot and get a glimpse into the more fun, eccentric side of me while getting to understand a little about my history.

xx, V

Photography by Kelsey Quartuccio

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