NIAF President Robert Allegrini

Jun 22, 2021 440

BY: Paul Basile

Like many Italian-American offspring of the Greatest Generation, Robert Allegrini had to find his way back to his roots. His mother was born in Italy, as were both of his paternal grandparents. But Allegrini’s father was a decorated veteran of World War II and a patriotic American who downplayed his ethnicity both at home and in public. He went off script at a key point in his son’s life, though, and that made all the difference in the world.

“When I was 10, we traveled as a family to Italy, and as we wandered through the Colosseum in Rome, he took out his Swiss Army knife and dislodged a pebble from one of the walls, probably violating a dozen Italian laws regarding the defacement of antiquities in the process,” Allegrini recalls. “He pressed it into my hand and said, ‘Hold onto this because it represents the Roman heritage that flows through your veins.’”

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