The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia

History, Culture, People, and Ideas

Edited by Andrea Canepari and Judith Goode
Book Cover

HC: $50.00
EAN: 978-1-4399-1647-6
Publication: Dec 21

424 pages
9 x 12
211 color photos, 29 halftones, 2 maps

Essays and images showcasing the rich contribution of Italians and Italian Americans to Global Philadelphia

Read the Introduction (pdf).


Italian arts and culture have been a significant influence on Philadelphia dating back to Thomas Jefferson and colonial times. Throughout the ensuing decades, Italian art and architecture styles flourished, and wealthy Philadelphians traveled to Italy and brought back objects to display in emerging institutions of art and culture. New immigration formed neighborhoods—such as South Philly, home to the Italian Market—and Italian business leaders, politicians, artists, musicians and sports figures came to prominence and became part of the social fabric of the city.

This glorious volume, The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia, celebrates the history, impact, and legacy of this vibrant community, tracing four periods of key transformation in the city’s political, economic, and social structures. The editors and contributors chronicle the changing dynamics of the city as Italian immigrants established themselves and as they continue to have lively interactions with people and institutions in Italy.

Interdisciplinary essays, along with nearly 250 gorgeous images, explore the changing perspectives and styles of those who contributed Italian influences. As travelers to and from Italy, settlers and their descendants brought everyday cultural practices, memories, and traditions, they created different Italian-American experiences that became important parts of American culture, a legacy that is thriving in contemporary, globalized Philadelphia.

Contributors: Gilda Battaglia Rorro Baldassari, Ann Blair Brownlee, Joseph F. Chorpenning, Jeffrey A. Cohen, Lisa Colletta, Steven Conn, Carmen R. Croce, Joseph V. Del Raso, William B. Ewald, Jean M. Farnsworth, Pietro Frassica, Raffaella Fabiani Giannetto, Jeremy Goode, Alan Greenberger, Cam Grey, Albert Gury, Scott Gabriel Knowles, David Serkin Ludwig, Salvatore Mangione, Barbara J. Mitnick, Luca Molinari, Jody Pinto, Inga Saffron, Chris William Sanchirico, Fred Simeone, Jennifer A. Thompson, Paolo Valentino, William R. Valerio, Maurizio Valsania, Stephen A. Willier, Barbara A. Wolanin, and the editors


"Italian Americans have been vital to the growth of the city of Philadelphia in many ways as business leaders and business owners, as patrons and performers of the arts, as chefs for bon vivants and of great food. But most importantly, these art- and culture-loving individuals and communities have formed social relationships that have made our city a much better place. Andrea Canepari and Judith Goode capture all of this and more. The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia is a great read for people of Italian ancestry or people who just love Italians.
Edward G. Rendell, former Governor of Pennsylvania

"This anthology provides elegant testimony to the profound impact of the Italian presence in Philadelphia. Through authoritative essays and striking visual images, it offers an invaluable tribute to what Italians brought to the city as they altered its physical and cultural environment and helped to make Philadelphia what it is today. It is a unique volume that deserves the attention of all readers who seek to learn more about the exchange between people and place.
Richard N. Juliani, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Villanova University, and author of Little Italy in the Great War: Philadelphia’s Italians on the Battlefield and Home Front (Temple)

About the Author(s)

H.E. Andrea Canepari, Ambassador of Italy to the Dominican Republic, was Consul General in Philadelphia and promoted public diplomacy initiatives to foster synergies among Italian-Americans, Italy, and the Delaware Valley. He served on several committees and boards, including the Presidential Advisory Board of Jefferson University. He received the 2016 Global Philadelphia Award from Temple University. He is the coeditor of The Italian Legacy in Washington, D.C.: Architecture, Design, Art and Culture, and editor of The Italian Legacy in the Dominican Republic: History, Architecture, Economics, and Society.

Judith Goode is Professor Emerita of Anthropology and Urban Studies at Temple University. She is the coeditor of The New Poverty Studies: The Ethnography of Power, Politics, and Impoverished People in the United States and coauthor of Reshaping Ethnic and Racial Relations in Philadelphia: Immigrants in a Divided City (Temple) and The Anthropology of the City: An Introduction to Urban Anthropology. In 2000, she was awarded the Prize for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America by the Society for the Anthropology of North America.