Monongahela sister city visit near
One window at the Monongahela Area Historical Society museum will feature the words “Benvenuto Atutti.”
The English translation will be scripted across another window: “Welcome All.”
But for a group of visitors to the city later this month, the translation won't be necessary.
They will come from Monongahela's sister city – Ono San Pietro, Italy – for a special three-day celebration. And the museum, like the city, is preparing for the occasion.
The left side of the museum's bay window display will include a brief history of Monongahela.
The right side window will feature a replica of a kitchen in an Italian home in Monongahela.
Susan Bowers, historical society president, said the goal is to showcase for the Italian visitors the role their ancestors played in the city's development.
The Italian exhibit opening will coincide with the sister city celebration.
On Sept. 12, 2012, Monongahela Council proclaimed that Ono San Pietro, a small village in the Brescia province, as Monongahela's “sister city.”
On Aug. 19, 57 visitors from Ono San Pietro will arrive. A three-day celebration will take place Aug. 22 to 24.
The celebration will comprise:
• Aug. 22: a welcome at Chess Park with a ceremonial exchange of the keys to the respective cities and a social at Ripepi Winery on Friday.
• Aug. 23: a tour of the Monongahela Historical Museum and a dinner at the Monongahela Fire Hall.
• Aug. 24: a tour of the Monongahela Cemetery and a Roman Catholic Mass at St. Damien Park celebrated in Italian by the Rev. Pierangelo Pederfoli of Ono San Pietro.
“This is the second largest concentration of Italians from that region in the U.S.,” Bowers said.
Bowers said the Italians left their blueprint on Monongahela throughout the 20th century. They built the former St. Anthony Church and its Festa Park on Park Avenue.
“They worked in the mines and as laborers,” Bowers said. “They built this town as much as those who came before them.”
Starting at the corner of Park Avenue and East Main Street and proceeding through town, Italian immigrants helped build the city, Bowers said.
Bowers' grandfather, Giuseppi Albero, owned a barber shop on Main Street. Next door, Joe Mancusco operated a shoe store, and across the street was James Affinito's blacksmith shop.
Affinito brothers, Ralph and Bernie, operated Affinito Brothers Butcher Shop. All of those businesses were in the 100 block of East Main Street.
At the intersection of Third and West Main streets stood O'Delli's Fruit Stand.
His store, which was famed for its peanut machine, was across the street from the current McDonald's.
The O'Dellis were among the Ono San Pietro natives who settled in Monongahela.
Leo and Aldo Bartolotta owned Bartolotta's Meat Market downtown in the late 1940s. It was a precursor to Aldo Bartolotta's grocery business.
And there were many others, Bowers said.
The exhibit includes mementos of Italian families, including many photos loaned to the museum. Exhibits recognize such well-known Italian families as the Montanas and other locally-known Italians.
“It is meant to illustrate how much the Italian heritage means to Monongahela,” Bowers said.
“It also helps families living here to relive earlier times and remember those who came before who gave so much to our town.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.