Vintage festival pins date back to 1904
This collection of Italian Festival vintage pins and sashes was recently donated to Saint Leo's Church by Jerry Moriconi, granddaughter of Italian immigrant, Pino Ruta, and great-grandparents to the Moriconi siblings pictured below. Dates on the pins read 1904, 1905, 1924, 1928, 1929, and 1930. Several committee roles and other words in Italian are noticeable: Fondatore (founder), Tesoriere (treasurer), Segretario di Fin. (Secretary of Finance), Comitato Festa (Festival Committee), and ricordo festa (festival souvenir). These relics will be placed in a shadow box and hung for display. Some pins are notably from Our Lady of Pompeii, our fellow parish in Highlandtown, and will be gifted to them. Societies' names and other verbiage on the pins reads:

  • Societa' di Mutuo Soccorso di S. Antonio Padova, Fondata in Baltimore MD 1905
  • Societa S. Antonio di Padova, Fondata il 1904, Baltimore MD
  • Societa' Italiana M.S. Roma Lazio OCEO
  • Maria S.S. di Monte Carmelo
  • Societa' Maria S.S. Delle, Grazie Feast, July 6, 1930, Baltimore MD (same for July 7, 1929)
  • Honorary President, Our Lady of Pompei Feast, October 7, 1928, Baltimore MD
  • 1904-1931: 27th anniversary Festa St. Antonio di Padova (Saint Anthony of Padua)
  • 1924: 20th Anniversario St. Antonio di Padova
  • Societa' S. Antonio di Padova, fondata 1904, Baltimore MD
  • Presidente Onorario / Confraternita di San Gabriele dell'Addolorata, Organizzata 1928, Nella chiesa di San Leone Magno (Honorary President / Confraternity of San Gabriele of the Grieved, Organized 1928, in the church of Saint Leo the Great)
  • Society Roma Lazio OCEO
  • Societa' Italiana M.S. Roma Lazio OCEO, Baltimore MD, founded 3 Aug 1922
The vintage pins and sashes belonged to Pio Ruta and his wife Ercilia - photo circa 1902 with their children Angelo, Ernie and Marie. Pio was born in 1872 in the town of Bassiano, Italia. He arrived in America on May 10, 1907 and lived on High Street in Little Italy.

"Great-grandfather Pio loved music and a good party!" said the Moriconi family. He played a musical instrument called the Jews Harp (sample pictured); he died in 1953. Pictured below are the great-grandchildren of Pio Ruta, the Moriconi siblings l-r: Andy, David, [Mamma Jerry], Joanne, Ray, and Jim.
Little Italy receives Secretary's Citation
from State of Maryland
Tom Riford (in photo), Deputy Secretary of Maryland, presented a Secretary's Citation to the community of Little Italy. Accepting on the neighborhood's behalf was resident Giovanna Aquia Blattermann (on left), president of Little Italy Community Organization/LICO, an Italian immigrant, and proprietor of Cafe Gia; and Lisa Regnante (middle), vice president of the Little Italy Neighborhood Association/LINA. As Riford and his wife dined at Cafe Gia, he surprised Blattermann and Regnante with the Secretary's Citation and read it aloud to patrons (see Citation's verbiage below).

Previously, Riford and his staff had visited Little Italy for a walking tour of the neighborhood, hosted by a group of Little Italy community leaders: including Blattermann, Regnante; Dan Weiser, LINA President; Lou Mazzulli, Little Italy business owner; and Paul Oliver, proprietor of Dalesio's Restaurant.

One hundred seventy years ago in 1852 was when Italian immigrants began to arrive in what eventually was called Little Italy. LICO & LINA have ideas for a year-long celebration with various themed events, ending with the 2023 Italian Heritage Festival. The Citation also was read aloud at the October 9th Italian Heritage Festival during its kickoff ceremony.
SECRETARY'S CITATION'S VERBIAGE: Maryland Department of Commerce ... Secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce is pleased to confer upon you this Secretary's Citation to Little Italy. Be it known: that on behalf of the citizens of the State of Maryland, in celebration of the 170th anniversary of Little Italy; in recognition of being an important cultural and ethic icon for Baltimore City; in appreciation for hosting Italian festivals, outdoor movie nights, bocce ball courts, and a plethora of delicious restaurants for the community; and with our best wishes for continued success in the days and years to come, we are pleased to confer upon you this Secretary's Citation. Given Under My Hand and the Great Seal of the State of Maryland, this Ninth Day of October, Two Thousand Twenty Two. {signed} R. Michael Gill, Secretary

Highlights from our Italian American
community events
Over 400 folks of Baltimore's Italian American community laughed through a wonderful gathering September 18th at the Little Italy & Saint Leo's School Celebration. Organized by childhood residents of the neighborhood - Santo Grasso, Will Matricciani, and Billy Bertazon (l-r above) - this event sold out in only two weeks! Gayle & Gregg Mugavero (in phone booth photo), kids of the neighborhood legend Marion "Mugs" Mugavero, owner of Fawn Street Confectionery for over five decades, arranged to transport to the event their father's original and legendary telephone booth, which guests enjoyed posing in for photos. The phone booth is a standing joke and holds numerous stories (both inside of it and out!) which might mention "bookies, numbers, and gamblers" and, well ... you can imagine the rest. :-D
click image to view slideshow
click image to view photos on
Promotion Center for Little Italy fb page
Bocce Wrapup
Little Italy’s Thursday night bocce league held an end-of-season awards dinner at the Little Italy Lodge. Pictured is Brian Schwabline (left) presenting awards to team president, Dino Basso. They reported a great season with great players and congratulate everyone!

The Tuesday / Wednesday bocce leagues are still in their final weeks of playoffs, having experienced multiple rainouts affecting the schedule. We will share their final results in next month's issue.
Fall classes at Pandola Learning Center
  • In-person (and online) Saturday Italian classes through Dec. 17
  • $80 for 7 classes of Italian language
  • Exploratory Italian for Travelers
  • Intermediate Italian
  • Continuing Beginners' Italian
  • Advanced Italian 
Other classes are offered
on various dates
with affordable fees!

• Delicious Honey ($10)
• Make Your Own Limoncello ($15)
• Truth about Christopher Columbus (free)
• Italian Arancine ($25)
• Learn How to Play Bocce ($10)
• Pasta Like a Pro ($25)
• Italian Christmas Cookies ($25)
• Book Clubs (free)
• Solving Your Insurance Dilemmas ($10)
• Pension Assistance for our Italian
American Community

Fall events in Piccola Italia
Thanksgiving meals for needy & homeless
Helping Up Mission provides hope to men fighting addiction and homelessness through
Christ-centered, scientifically-sound
recovery programs and services.
November's focus is on giving thanks during the season of Ringraziamento (Thanksgiving) and when the Saint Vincent Pallotti Society / Union of Catholic Apostolate at Saint Leo’s Church asks for your assistance to help feed a wholesome hot Thanksgiving meal to the needy and homeless of Baltimore City and its surrounding community. Since the Society will not host its usual Thanksgiving meal in the church hall, it is collecting donations for Helping Up Mission. This outreach provides hope to those experiencing homelessness, poverty, and/or addiction and serves approximately 1,200 meals daily. Your donation will help to ensure some eat a hot meal for the holiday. Give online using Saint Leo's giving platform (button below) or mail check payable to Saint Leo’s Church (include memo - SVPS Thanksgiving Dinner), 227 S. Exeter Street, Little Italy/Baltimore MD 21202). Questions? Call or email Francis Blattermann, 410-207-7075.
blast from the past
Submitted by Jerome Rifkin

"This photo is from an early 1950s National Lumber Company calendar. The caption reads: A Pullman trackless trolley car negotiates an S-turn at Exeter and Stiles Streets. The Baltimore Transit Co. operated the No. 18 line through Little Italy shown here heading North - uptown."
 Include caption, people ID, location, approximate year, and your name.
Photos must be Little Italy or Italian immigrant-related.
from our email box
"Thank you for everything you did for the festival. You got the word out early and often and were a big part in getting us vendors, volunteers and guests for the day of the event. Grazie mille!!" ~ Mike Gallerizzo, Italian Heritage Festival

2023 newsletter sponsorship available
From editor Suzanna Rosa Molino:
"Now securing 2023's sponsors to fill the monthly ad space in Neighborhood News. You can sponsor 1 to 12 issues ($60 each, you select months) or host the entire year at a 20% discount ($576 paid by 12/31/2022). Sponsor dollars pay for this Constant Contact email marketing platform which allows me to produce this newsletter and maintain Little Italy's email list. Details at

Grazie to Tony Palumbo of PALUMBO INSURANCE and
Jim Moriconi of JEMCO for committing to 2023 sponsorships!

Promotion Center for
Little Italy, Baltimore


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