agosto / August 2023
Mount Rushmore carved by Italian immigrant
by Suzanna Rosa Molino
Editor, Neighborhood News from Little Italy

When I have seen photos of something famous all through my life, and then have the opportunity to view it in person, an actual jolt runs through my body ... There it is! How marvelous! It is exactly how I felt on one of my trips to Italia as I turned the corner in Pisa, Italy, to view the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person. There it is!! (jolt)

It was the same feeling last month when I had the delightful experience of visiting Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota, a monument I had wanted to see ever since reading the book, Out of Rushmore's Shadow: The Luigi del Bianco Story, an Italian Immigrant's unsung role as chief carver. The book deeply affected me and ignited an interest in traveling to South Dakota to view Mount Rushmore. I felt very proud that such a monumental project was tackled by an Italian immigrant.

Bianco, the chief carver of Mount Rushmore, was an Italian immigrant, who had trained in Italy as a stone carver. He came to America in 1908 at the age of 16. His task at Rushmore was to carve the “refinement of expression” - the detail in the presidents' faces, such as the twinkle in Lincoln's eye.

For 25 years, Bianco's son, Caesar, and grandson, Lou, campaigned Mount Rushmore National Memorial to have their father and grandfather recognized for his unique contribution on our nation’s greatest memorial. His family wanted to honor Luigi with the recognition he deserved. Before that, there was no special recognition of Bianco, only his name mixed in the list among the other 399 workers.

I could not stop staring at Rushmore and did so for a long, long time. I was so happy to be there! My kids and I enjoyed a relaxing and unhurried visit, sitting at the top of the amphi-theatre in front of the vast monument, and walking through the Visitor Center museum and gift shop inside. In the museum, I quickly searched for - and found - the plaque honoring Bianco which I knew was there; as well as viewing several enormous enlarged photos of him on the job.

As we were driving away from the park, I Googled the author of Out of Rushmore's Shadow, Bianco's grandson, Lou Del Bianco, found his contact information in New York, and emailed him about how thrilled I felt to have finally visited Mount Rushmore, my visit inspired by his book. (I also asked him why I did not see the book in the gift shop.)

Lou replied in less than 30 minutes, "Hi Suzanna! To say your email made my day would be an understatement. Your support of my nonno's story is deeply felt. I have tried many times to get the book stocked there. They just won’t do it; probably because the book is rightly critical of the staff who I tangled with for 25 years! The next time I am in Maryland, I would love to visit your Little Italy and perform my one-man show about Luigi for you all! Best, Lou Del Bianco, Actor, Singer, Storyteller"

Lou and his Uncle Caesar eventually succeeded to have his nonno acknowledged; the plaque pictured below hangs in the Visitor Center at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. In his work as an actor, Lou portrays a one-man show portraying his grandfather in the role of chief carver of Mount Rushmore. To learn more, visit

Interesting facts about Mount Rushmore

  • Luigi was paid $1.50 an hour; a considerable sum during The Depression.
  • Construction began in 1927 and stopped in 1941.
  • During the 14 years of construction, not one fatality occurred in spite of less than ideal and dangerous conditions and dangling from the mountain in all types of weather.
  • Mount Rushmore was actually never completed, according to the designer's original vision, which was to carve down to the waists of each president. Only George Washington's image was carved to his jacket lapels.
  • Bianco patched the crack in Thomas Jefferson’s lip with a foot-deep piece of granite held in place by pins. It is the only patch on the entire sculpture, and one that is hard to detect - even close up.

“I would do it again, even knowing all the hardships involved”, said
Luigi Del Bianco in a 1966 interview with the Herald Statesman
newspaper. “I would work at Mount Rushmore even without pay,
if necessary. It was a great privilege granted me”.
Editor Suzanna Molino (left) in South Dakota July 2023 with two of her kids (Angelica center; Dante right) and friends Cody / Cori, delighted in finally visiting Mount Rushmore. As the proud granddaughter of four Italian immigrants and a history buff, its story fascinated her that an Italian immigrant had played a chief role in the carving of the monument.
Around the neighborhood
BOCCE 'GRADS' - Participants in Pandola Learning Center's class, Learn to Play Bocce, in Little Italy, from left: Frank Corazza (instructor), Lindsey Davis, Leslie Watkins, Swinita Shah, Christopher Wade, Andrew Watkins, Fran Blattermann (instructor). More bocce instruction classes are now forming and will continue into the fall, conducted over two Saturdays 11am - 12:30pm; fee $15. Minimum requirement of four students for private classes and age requirement of 12 years and older. Bocce instructors teach pro bono and class fees go to the Pandola Learning Center. Call 410-866-8494 for registration information and class dates.

Little Italy Lodge Foundation, established 1999, announces that $38,000 in scholarships have been awarded to seven outstanding students. The Foundation congratulates these young men and women and is extremely proud of them. Auguri! As well, it wishes to acknowledge the many individuals who have supported
this scholarship program to make
it so successful. Awardees are:

  • Ashley Keister, Matricciani / Vondersmith Scholarship for $6,000; Ashley was sponsored by Rosemarie Johnson.
  • Isabella Keh Elliott, Jerome & Angela Elliott Scholarship for $6,000; Isabella was sponsored by Roland Keh.
  • Brandon Elliott, Carl T. Julio Scholarship, for $6,000; Brandon was sponsored by Jerome Elliott, Sr.
  • Derek Caiazzo, $5,000 scholarship in honor of Anthony “Tony” Verdecchia; Derek was sponsored by Guy Caiazzo.
  • Claire Peiffer, $5,000 scholarship; Claire was sponsored by Mary Polling-Knab.
  • Carolyn Davis, $5,000 scholarship; Carolyn was sponsored by Mary Polling-Knab.
  • Charles Petro, $5,000 scholarship; Charles was sponsored by Michael Petro.


Ovenbird Bakery
Little Italy

"Keiller Kyle’s breads load the shelves at his Little Italy bakery: boules of sourdough, squares of focaccia, rows of bagels, plus a case featuring cakes and cookies. To lessen the line outside, Kyle opened a stall at Lexington Market and has a flagship bakery to come." ~ Baltimore Magazine online

MADONNARI ARTS FEST 2023 POSTPONED - The Madonnari Arts Festival will not take place this fall, says organizer Cyd Wolf. Once the Cabaret at Germano's re-opens (watch for that story to come), Wolf and her committee will plan for a future festival, inviting artists from around the world to create stunning 3D chalk artwork on the streets of the neighborhood.
ADDITIONAL FESTIVAL VENDORS & VOLUNTEERS NEEDED - Interested in being a vendor or a volunteer? Consider participating in the Saturday, October 7th Italian Heritage Festival in Little Italy - one day only. Email Mike Gallerizzo.

$100 donation for a 10x10 space, 6' table,
3 chairs, and a tent (if available, or you may bring your own)

  • 8 volunteers to help set up day before (Friday, Oct. 6; whenever you can between 3-8pm)
  • 10 people for Beer & Wine Garden (3-4 hour slots between 10am-5pm)
  • 8 volunteers for entrance gates (3-4 hour slots between 11am-5pm)
  • 6 volunteers for children’s area (3-4 hour slots between 11am-5pm)
  • 8 volunteers to help break down after festival (4:30-8 pm)

Baltimore Chapter
Filitalia has begun a new chapter in Baltimore's Italian community, carrying on their mission to promote, preserve and protect our Italian heritage and culture. It especially wants to support Baltimore youth in the study of the Italian language, and give everyone - students and families - opportunities for fellowship and Italian / Italian American cultural engagement.

You're invited to join Filitalia's next monthly meeting:
Wednesday, August 23
5:30 pm, Chiapparelli's Restaurant, Little Italy
RSVP attendance to Lori
(attendees buy their own meal)

  • Participation in upcoming festivals (Italian Heritage Festival Oct. 7 and Maryland Italian Festival Sept 29-30/Oct. 1)
  • Formation of membership, language, culture committees
  • Growing membership, opportunities for leadership
  • Christmas cookie sale
  • 2024 travel to Rome, Vittorchiano, Assisi, including Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square
  • 2024 Summer Camp - student study in Italy
  • Feast of St. Joseph - March 17, 2024

  • President; Secretary: Dr. Elizabeth Scali Pease
  • First Vice President / Fundraising: Lori Trump
  • Second Vice President: Dr. Stephen Vicchio
  • Treasurer: Dr. Andrew J. Pease
  • Board Members: Ray Alcaraz, Elia Mannetta
Blast from the past
Submitted by Debbie Pilker Sullivan

"My grandfather, Louis R. Fullano, treasured this photo above of his friends from Little Italy. But since his and my grandmother's deaths, no one remembers who is in the photo. Can anyone help to ID it? Also, here is a photo of my grandparents, Rose and Lou Fullano. Grandpop's family grew up in Little Italy; his brothers owned businesses there. My grandfather was a produce man with a warehouse in Fells Point."
 Include caption, people ID, location, approximate year, and your name.
Photos must be Little Italy or Italian immigrant-related.
from our email box
"Our grandson, Edward Louis Johnson, 18, was appointed to the United States Air Force Academy Class of 2027. He completed basic training in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and will major in Aerodynamic Engineering. He has worked very hard, conducting interviews with U.S. congressmen and senators who nominated his appointment. Edward's GPA is 4.5. His goal is to become a member of Space Force. We are extremely proud of Edward's hard work and wish him a great journey in the U.S. Air Force and after he graduates as a Second Lieutenant."

~ Mary Lou & Bill Bertazon (Edward's grandparents; Bill grew up in Little Italy)
"Just read the latest Promotion Center newsletter. You do a great job. Thanks for all the latest news from Little Italy."
~ Bonnie Montcalmo

"Grazie again, Suzanna. My sisters, brothers, and cousins were excited to see the 'Blast from the Past' in July's issue that had a photo of our mom and aunts. Gives us another reason to all get together. (We are in the Catonsville area; one sister is in New York.) We love your books and all that you do."
~ Grazie, Andrew Libertini

"Thank you for this newsletter, I look forward to these events."
~ Christine Richardson
Fall Events 2023
Sunday, August 27
Crab Feast
by Grand Lodge of MD

Sunday, September 10
Bull & Oyster Roast
by Knights of Columbus

Sunday, September 17
Volunteer Social
by St. Leo's Church

Saturday, September 23
Padre Pio Mass & Brunch
by Knights of Columbus
Fri-Sun, Sept 29 - Oct 1
Maryland Italian Festival
by Society of Italian
American Businessmen

Saturday, October 7
Italian Heritage Festival
by Italian Heritage Committee

Saturday, October 7
Festival Bocce Tournament
by Italian American Bocce League

Sunday, October 15
Columbus Gala
Honoring Don Castronova
by Grand Lodge of Maryland
Saturday, October 21
Cinquanta! 50 Year Gala
by Little Italy Lodge

Sunday, October 29
Carryout Ravioli Dinner
by St. Leo's Church

Saturday, November 4
La Passeggiata Gala
by ACIM / American Citizens
for Italian Matters

Saturday, November 18
Bocce Bull & Oyster Roast
by Italian American Bocce League
A fabulous afternoon planned!

  • Variety of Italian delicacies by Little Italy restaurants, Little Italy Lodge, St. Leo's Church, and other food establishments
  • Wine & Beer Garden featuring Italian products and other beverages
  • Music by Small Miracle and two of the Monaldi Brothers playing Italian and other music
  • Large tented seating area, one with a big-screen TV to watch baseball
  • Game wheels of chance
  • Italian wares and other items offered by vendors
  • Sausage-eating contest
  • Bocce tournament
  • Kids' area with face-painting, caricatures, balloon artist, games and more
It was 1973 when the Little Italy Lodge opened its doors and here they are 50 years later, still cooking pasta, drinking vino, and hosting a multitude of fun community events. You do NOT want to miss their Anniversary Gala! To purchase, email one of these members: Jean Kelley, Cynthia Raperto or Carol Caiazzo. Tickets also available during Lodge Friday Night Dinners.
ACIM / American Citizens for Italian Matters is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, an Italian American women’s group which supports several large endowments at Maryland colleges, as well as hosts holiday events for the children at Villa Maria. Event includes delicious food, premium open bar, raffles, baskets, and live music!
Paid Sponsors
Promotion Center for Little Italy exists solely
on donations as a 100% volunteer-run
nonprofit organization.
Annual Expenses
  • $1,221 - Constant Contact email marketing account (hosts Little Italy's email list; produces this newsletter)
  • $ 504 - Host domain name
  • $ 74 - Email addresses
  • $ 153 - Rental of Pitney Bowes postage meter
  • $ 200 - Dues for memberships in Italian organizations
  • $1,300 - Miscellaneous expenses, booklet ads, and donations in support
of other Little Italy orgs
a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

established 2010

Director & Co-founder


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