Viva Italiano! The Las Vegas Love Affair with Italian Cuisine

Sep 08, 2023 251

First landing in California for the 1849 Gold Rush, Italian immigrants made their mint more in merchandise than mining. In 1859, they shifted their attention to neighboring Nevada following discovery of the Comstock Lode, the world’s richest silver strike. Yet more came to work on the Transcontinental Railroad.

By 1910, according to census numbers, Italians were the largest immigrant group in the Silver State. Those that settled in Las Vegas had significant influence on the nascent city’s future. In his absorbing 1996 book Beyond the Mafia: Italian Americans and the Development of Las Vegas, local political science professor Alan Balboni documents how Italians became “one of Las Vegas most progressive and productive ethnic minorities” through “participation in every aspect of the city’s society and economy.”

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