Portland, Oregon has a rich Italian history. The Church of St. Michael the Archangel was built in 1901 by Italian immigrants to serve the large Italian speaking population. It is located downtown Portland on fourth avenue, in the heart of what used to be Portland's Little Italy. At the turn of the century Portland had a thriving Italian business district which was alive with Italian language, and culture. Unfortunately, in 1961 it was abolished due to an urban renewal movement. St. Michael's is the only building still standing with its original identity intact. It is currently undergoing restorations. In 1991 local Italian groups united and the Festa Italiana Association was incorporated with one mission: to promote & celebrate Italian culture in Portland. Our mission at Italian Portland is one and the same.
“Most Italians who came to this country are very patriotic.
There was this exciting possibility that if you worked real hard, and you loved something, you could become successful. "
― Francis Ford Coppola
From the Editor
Being raised in an Italian American family in Portland, Oregon I have an inherent love of the culture, way of life, and of course, Italian cuisine. As an adult, this appreciation led me to interview my father, Antonio Russo, about his Italian emigration and journey to the United States in 1951. It culminated in a memoir published via Gemelli Press titled, Wrestling with the Devil: A Story of Sacrifice, Survival, and Triumph, from the Hills of Naples to the Hall of Fame. As well, my passion for slow food led to the publication of my illustrated children's book—also inspired by my father—titled, Tino & the Pomodori. It follows a young boy, Tino (short for Antonio), who plants and harvests tomatoes with his family in 1940s rural Italy. Celebrating the wonders of gardens, Italy, and family traditions Tino & the Pomodori also gives children a glimpse of the beautiful Italian language. You can find my feature articles for Portland's Italian community in L'italo-Americano Newspaper.
Italian Portland is a place for Italians, Italian Americans, and ALL who share a love of the culture to stay connected with and be inspired by, All things Italian in the City of Roses.
Tonya Russo Hamilton
You can visit my author site at: figsandfamiglia.com
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