Marlborough Italian-American proudly shares his cultural heritage and language

Mar 16, 2017 256

BY: Christine Galeone

Marlborough – Boyhood memories of Sunday afternoons in New Kensington, Pa., will always have a special place in Bob Alessio’s heart. They were filled with the warmth of home-cooked Italian cuisine, the music of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra and, above all, “famiglia” (family).

Occasionally, at these big family dinners, his uncle, John, would sing a song in the Piedmontese dialect. It was about a soldier who had just finished his rotation guarding one of Italy’s northern borders, coming down the mountain to bring his sweetheart a bouquet of wildflowers. The song had been passed down from Alessio’s great-grandfather, who – like other soldiers from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy – wrote and sang a cappella songs to pass the time until he could return to his village.

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