Passionate About Sicily

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An evening dedicated to Sicily—the gem of the Mediterranean Sea

The Joseph M. and Geraldine C. La Motta Lecture Series at Seton Hall University and the Federazione Siciliana del New Jersey will present “A Tribute to Sicily,” a program free and open to the public on Monday, September 25, 2006 at 6:00 PM in Jubilee Hall at Seton Hall University (400 South Orange Avenue, South Orange, NJ).

The history and culture of this enchanted island will be explored in an evening filled with entertainment, and an authoritative overview of Sicilian history. The featured speaker will be Dr. Gene A. Brucker, Shepard Professor Emeritus of History, University of California at Berkeley, who will give a lecture entitled “Sicilian Independence: the Problem of Self-Rule, from the Vespers to Garibaldi.” Dr. Brucker, who is internationally recognized as one of the leading historians of Italy, will give a forty-five minute account of 600 years of Sicilian history, focusing on the fascinating question of whether Sicily could ever have ruled itself.

Following Dr. Brucker’s lecture will be a performance by the world-renowned vocalist and percussionist Ms. Alessandra Belloni, who is currently an artist in residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. A tambourine virtuoso, singer, actress and dancer, Ms. Belloni has received numerous awards for her musical and theatrical achievements while releasing eight solo recordings and collaborating on many others with a wide array of diverse musical artists.

The evening will also be a special occasion to recognize distinguished Sicilian and Italian alumni and friends of the University. Specifically, the prestigious Monsignor Joseph Granato Italian Culture Award will be presented to Frank Farinella, Sr., ’49, and Nazario (Larry) Paragano, Sr.

To complete the event and add an epicurean touch, a reception featuring distinctive Italian and Sicilian foods will be held from 7:30-8:45 PM in the Jubilee Hall Atrium.

In addition, on display will be a sampling of books from Seton Hall’s Valente Family Italian Collection (which is among the nation’s largest). This collection includes books on the history of Sicily and Southern Italy, including the entire catalogue of the Societa` Siciliana di Storia Patria. Also on display will be a rare first edition of the first printed history of Sicily. Written in Latin by Tommaso Fazello, this folio-sized volume, “De Rebus Siculis Decades Duae,” was published in Palermo in 1558. Fazello’s history was recently purchased for the Valente Family Collection with matching funds generously provided by Mr. Larry Paragano, Sr., and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The featured speaker, Professor Gene Brucker, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on late medieval and early modern Italian history. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Illinois, studied at Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar), and completed his Ph.D. at Princeton University. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Medieval Academy of America and a corresponding member of the Deputazione di Storia Patria per la Toscana. He most recently authored “Living on the Edge in Leonardo’s Florence” (2005). His other books include the widely acclaimed “Giovanni and Lusanna”; “Florence: The Golden Age, 1138-1737” and “The Civic World of Early Renaissance Florence.”

This event is organized by Dr. William J. Connell, the Joseph M. and Geraldine C.

La Motta Chair in Italian Studies at Seton Hall University. With a commitment to sustaining awareness of Italian culture and heritage, the Lecture Series celebrates its 50th event in 9 years with this evening’s “Tribute to Sicily” program.

Although this event is free and open to the public, pre-registration is requested. Please contact the Seton Hall Events Hotline at (973) 378-2658 to R.S.V.P. and for additional information concerning this exciting celebration of Sicily.


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Daniela Puglielli
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