Dunmore Father and Son Trace Local History in Italy


By Justin MacGregor

Carlo Pisa and his son Alfredo, both from the Bunker Hill section of Dunmore, recently shared the trip of a lifetime. This past August, the San Cataldo Society members embarked on a journey to Sicily and Italy’s mainland to spend time with family and trace local history.

Their experience began with a flight to Palermo, Sicily, followed by a two-hour ride to San Cataldo, where many Dunmoreans trace their roots. News of the arrival of the two Dunmoreans spread quickly and they were soon invited to city hall by Deputy Mayor Aldo Riggi.  

There, they were greeted by the local newspaper, which recently ran a story on their visit. The Pisas presented Deputy Mayor Riggi with a framed picture of the San Cataldo Club, as well as honorary membership cards. They were then taken on an escorted tour of the city by the chief of police. The tour included visits to the local church, winery, clock tower and social club. A familiar face appeared at the social club – former Mayor Attilio Callari. Mayor Callari, who visited Dunmore in the 1980s, greeted the Pisas and cheerfully discussed his 1986 trip. He also insisted that they “say hello to his good friend Sandi Cancelleri.”

“Mayor Callari’s picture from his trip 30 years ago is actually on the wall at our club,” said Alfredo. “He seemed to get a real kick out of that.”

san-cataldi-trip-photo-2-1Before returning to Palermo, the locals insisted that a trip to the local basket factory was in order. While there, owner Archangelo Cala discussed San Cataldo’s mining history. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, children known as “carusis” mined sulfur in the dangerous caverns under the city. Some of the children were as young as seven, and many perished.

“There are many similarities to what the immigrants here faced in the mines,” said Carlo. “Mr. Cala actually gave us a basket that was used by one of the carusis over 100 years ago. I am glad that it made it through customs,” he chuckled.

As they were saying goodbye to the group of prominent San Cataldo citizens, a car pulled up and Deputy Mayor Riggi’s wife Ivana approached the Pisas. A well known fashion designer, she presented Carlo with a beautiful brooch for his wife. The group also reiterated that all Dunmoreans are welcome to visit San Cataldo.

“The people of San Cataldo were incredibly generous and warm,” said Alfredo. “We were treated as family there. This trip has reopened a line of communication to these wonderful people.”

The next leg of their adventure brought them to Guardia Lombardi. Almost all of the Italian families that settled in the Bunker Hill section of Dunmore have an ancestral footprint in this region. Within minutes of arriving, they were met by their cousin Emmanuela Sica. She drove them to her home and the entire family enjoyed a huge meal together. After “finishing too much food and homemade wine,” Alfredo and Carlo were brought to a small village 15 minutes away that organizes weekly festivals in order to promote community pride and friendship.

“The festival reminded me a lot of our own Italian Festival,” said Alfredo. “There was live music at every corner, smiling faces everywhere, and, of course, more amazing food.”

After catching up with family, the Pisas departed the next morning and finished up their trip with stops in Rome, Sorrento, and Naples.

“Alfredo and I are more like brothers than father and son,” said Carlo. “Seeing our roots and spending time with family was a truly special time for us both that we will always treasure. Throughout Italy, people really take their time and enjoy life,” added Carlo.

The San Cataldo Club celebrated its 110th Anniversary on Oct. 30, 2016. A picture of the current society membership group was taken and it now rests next to the founding group’s original 1906 photo.

“Our new picture was sent to our sister social club in San Cataldo, Sicily,” said Alfredo.

Italian American Hertitage Society attends seminar


Members of SIAMO: The Italian American Heritage Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania recently visited Thirteen Olives in South Abington Township where owner Eugene Litz presented an educational seminar on various types of Italian olive oil and balsamic vinegar, how they are made and how they are graded.

For more information on SIAMO, visit www.siamonepa.com.

From left: Stephanie Longo; Sara White, Thirteen Olives; Eugene Litz, Thirteen Olives; Annie Longo; and Piera Marotto.


Calendar of Events – June 201

Italian Language Hour

SIAMO, The Italian-American Heritage Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania, will host its next Italian Language Hour on Sunday, June 26, at the Taylor Community Library, 710 S. Main St., Taylor, beginning at 2 p.m. SIAMO’s Italian Language Hours are designed as practice time for speakers of Italian of all levels, including beginner. Some knowledge of the Italian language is necessary to participate as this is not a class. For more information, visit www.siamonepa.com.

Leadership Lackawanna Celebration

4e180688-790e-4225-afe6-c6e9eff3d439Tickets are still available for Leadership Lackawanna’s annual Celebration of Leadership event to held on Thursday, June 16, at 5:30pm at The Leonard Theater in downtown Scranton. Celebration of Leadership is Leadership Lackawanna’s annual signature event. The event pays tribute to the leadership of our area by recognizing three individuals with awards. It also highlights achievements from the past year and honors the participants in the Leadership Lackawanna Core Program Class of 2016, the 33rd graduating class. The event includes business networking, live music, raffles, dinner stations and cocktails, a community service project showcase, and the presentation of certificates to graduating participants. Tickets are $50 for alumni and $65 for the general public. Reservations can be made by calling (570) 342-7711 or by visiting LeadershipLackawanna.com

Ss. Cyril and Methodius Rummage Sale

Parishioners of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church, Olyphant, met recently to plan the sixth annual rummage sale for September 23, 24 and 25 at St. Cyril’s Grade School, 133 River St., Olyphant. Contact Laurel Telep at (570) 383-0319 regarding raffle prizes or donations. Rev. Nestor Isawiw is pastor.


Sandlot Baseball Tryouts

The Sandlot Baseball Academy travel baseball tryouts will be held on June 12 for ages 8 to 11 at Dunmore Little League from noon to 2 p.m. and for ages 12 to 17 at Dunmore High School from 3 to 5 p.m. There is no cost for the tryouts. Contact CDD027@aol.com or 570-445-1155 to register for tryouts or with questions.

Elmhurst Volunteer Fire Co. Picnic

02f7065392b001aaf5873c0f93308431Elmhurst-Roaring Brook Volunteer Fire Company will host its annual picnic on June 22-25 on the grounds located off Route 435 in Elmhurst. Grounds will open on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m., and on Saturday at 5 p.m. Homemade food will be available.

Entertainment includes, on Wednesday, June 22, car show with D.J. Paul; Thursday, June 23, parade at 7 p.m. and music by Take 3; Friday, June 24, music by Hell Yo preceded by the Crystal Band of Scranton, and on Saturday, June 25, music by Old Friends. Proceeds from this event help fund fire/rescue services.

Marywood Master of Fine Arts Exhibit

Marywood University’s 2016 master of fine arts in graphic design and illustration thesis exhibition features students from the “Get Your Master’s with the Masters” program in graphic design and illustration. Thesis work, study tour books, and additional projects will be on display, with an opening reception on Saturday, July 16, from 4-5:30 p.m., in the Mahady Gallery, in the Shields Center for Visual Arts, on the University’s campus.  This exhibit and its opening reception are free and open to the public. The exhibition will be open from July 18 through July 21, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

WEC and SBDC Small Business Program

University_of_Scranton_sealThe University of Scranton Women’s Entrepreneurship Center (WEC) and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) are teaming up to offer “StartUP” a 4-week certificate program designed for women with lower incomes, those in transition or those trying to make a better life for themselves and their families, the program will offer women support and guidance in determining if entrepreneurship is an option for them. The series will be held in Scranton on Mondays, beginning June 6 and ending June 27, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The series is offered free of charge. Space is limited and applications are reviewed first come, first served. To obtain an application, call Francene at 570-941-4168 or e-mail francene.dudziec@scranton.edu.