Ellis Island 1902
This is part of the documentation of my maternal grandfather Fillipo Bellino (Bellina) entering Ellis Island in 1902, immigrating from Lercara Friddi , Sicily. Our family surname was actually Bellina spelled with an “a” at the end, and not Bellino which became our family name as a result of just one of many mistakes made by clerks working on Ellis Island. This happened to many families.
My grandmother Giuseppina Salemi immigrated to New York, also from Lercara Friddi , Sicily, five years later in 1907. My mother’s parents were married in New York and later settled in Lodi, New Jersey where Nonno Fillipo opned a shoemaker shop on Main Street in Lodi. They lived above the shoemaker shop and had 5 children; Lilly, James, Frank, Anthony, and my mother Lucia.
The notorious Mafia Boss Salvatore Lucania, aka Charles “Lucky” Luciano was also born in Lercara Friddi, Sicily and immigrated to New York 1906, and settled on East 10th Street in the Lower East Side of the city.
Frank Sinatra’s family was also from Lercara Friddi Sicily. Like my grandfather, Sinatra’s grandfather was a shoemaker in Lercara Friddi. Frank Sinatra’s father Martino Severino Sinatra immigrated from Lercara Friddi, Sicily to New York City in 1903. He later moved to Hoboken, New Jersey where his son Francis Albert Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915. Frank Sinatra would go on to become a singer and actor and was considered by millions to be the greatest entertainer of The 20th Century.
At 3 Years of Age
LODI , NEW JERSEY
Fillipo, Lucia, Antonino, Giuseppina
Not in Picture, Sister Lilly, and Brothers James and Frank
RECIPES FROM MY SICILIAN NONNA
Grandma Bellino’s Italian Cookbook / Recipes From My Sicilian Grandmother (Nonna) is a book based on my mother Lucia Bellino’s recipes that she learned from her mother, my maternal grandmother Giuseppina Salemi Bellino. My nonna came from Lercara Friddi, Sicily in Provincia di Palermo, which was a town about 45 minutes south of Palermo. Most of the recipes in the book are Sicilian dishes, but not all. Both my grandmother and mother Lucia had friends from other parts of Italy, like Naples, Genoa, Calabria, Abruzzo, and Puglia, and my nonna as well as my mom picked up recipes from their friends whose families came from these other regions of Italy.
Their are also recipes from my Aunt Fran whose family was from Lazio (South of Rome), and my Aunt Helen Cavallo who was born near Salerno, Italy and was a wonderful cook, making Neapolitan dishes along with those of Salerno, and the nearby coast of Amalfi and the region of Campania.
My uncle Tony became quite a good cook, specializing in meat preparations as he worked at his friend Jimmy Scarlotta’s family butcher shop on Main Street in Lodi, and some of the recipes are mine, that I picked up in Italy, and was taught some by my former boss Pasquale who was from Brindisi, Italy, and was quite a good chef.
Me in SICILY
SIRACUS , SICILY
Back in Lercara Friddi
At a Caffe in the Piazza del Duomo