Commercial fishing boat in Porticello (Palermo Province), the village where my grandfather was born and lived before emigrating to the United States in April 1913
My grandfather was 17 years old when he emigrated. First, like many from Porticello, he went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he worked as a marble mason. Eventually, he settled in Brooklyn where he sold Italian food products to different grocers. My ancestral families were two of the founding families of Porticello, for when Benedetto Mantegna’s children (the princes and princesses of Gangi), who owned the coastal land and sea that was a tuna farm/fishery, decided to rent and then sell the land at the beginning of the 19th century, my families purchased property from the princess. My great, great grandparents’ families were fisherman and then owned sardine and anchovy packing and canning businesses.
Today, Porticello continues to be one of Sicily’s most important fishing communities.
When I am between tours, I like to stay in Porticello. It’s not only close to my cousins’ homes, but I enjoy walking through the port and observing life here. I recognize myself in the people. We are all working hard to make it happen. I’m a fisherman too, I’m just finishing for something other than anchovies and sardines. I’m fishing to find travelers who want to experience an authentic Sicily and connect to this magical place.