THE MARCONI PROJECT
The Marconi project is an effort by the Casa Italiana Sociocultural Center to capture the memories and experiences of Italian immigrants in the greater Washington D.C. area. By sharing their rich history and stories we plan to preserve those memories digitally and make them available for generations to come.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, 17 million people left Italy in search of a better life than their poverty-stricken towns could provide. Of them, six million came to the United States between 1876 and 1925.
Our “Marconi Series” on Italian immigrants from the Washington area, is launched with an oral history about a young couple who married and left for America in 1913. After living briefly in Ohio, Fortunato Sansalone and Rosa Pelle Sansalone settled on 35 acres of wooded land, near Vineland, N.J. They cleared their property of red-oak trees for fruit and vegetable production. It was here that they raised eight children, and spent their last years. Their story is told by their son, Dr. William Sansalone, a longtime member of the Casa Italiana Washington community.
The Marconi Series is part of a larger project to establish an Italian American Museum with galleries that display objects from the early days of Holy Rosary Church and the Washington D.C. immigrant experience.
Damiano Durante, also known as Kosma, is a realist/symbolist painter, born in Salerno, Italy on 13th June 1971. As a recent immigrant to America, Kosma was the subject of the Marconi Project video
Listen to the inaugural interview with William Sansalone as he recalls the immigration story of his parents Fortunato and Rosa Sansalone. The interview is by Tom Sweeney.