My Italian Grandma

I have received many questions and have had many discussions about my Italian grandparents. So I have decided to dedicate a special page just about them and my family history. The information below is a labor of love and a work in progress. The family has been contacted, more details to come… All the wonderful Italian food when I was growing up is one thing that brought the family together and is the one thing that has so many wonderful memories connected with it. For example; when I make the Anisette cookies at Christmas time I am instantly taken back to a more simpler time at my grandparents house with lots of love being shared in the kitchen and at the table! My grandma Salerno, she taught me how to pour love into the cooking! The one thing that would put a big smile on her face is her love ones enjoying her cooking! Gramma I’m full! Oh, don’t take just one plate! Oh no.. You would get the standard response: “What… You no like-a my cooking, your skin and bones. Eat… EAT! Have another plate! If you want to make an Italian grandma happy, ask for seconds or thirds, you will make her happy! There is a lot of information on this page, please be patient and let the page load.

Grandma and Grandpa Salerno

Grandparents on my mom’s side. My Fathers side is Irish/English.

Anna Copozzi Salerno

My Italian Grandmother, Anna Copozzi Salerno

“The best cook I ever knew!” Grandma Salerno is from
Santeramo in Colle: Apulia Region (Puglia),
10 Miles south of Bari, Italy.
Here is a google map of Santeramo in Colle.

She worked in a sewing factory. A very hard worker like my grandfather.
She taught me the love for food and family.


Luigi Ruggierio Salerno

My Grandfather, Luigi Ruggierio Salerno

“Kindest, most gentle man I ever knew!”
Grandpa Salerno is also from Bisceglie, Italy.

He was a “Core Maker”.
That’s where you poor red hot liquid metal into molds all day long.
Not an easy job at all! He worked hard and poured out his life for his kids

Anna Capozzi was born in: Sannicandro di Bari, Italy, but grew up in Santeramo in Colle, Italy before moving to United States. When they moved to the states, they lived in the town of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. A suburb of Worcester. There are a lot of Italian in Worcester! I grew up in Springfield, MA and I spent a lot of time at my grandparents house on the weekend in Shrewsbury and learned a lot about cooking there. Mainly the love of Italian food and making it for the ones you love.

Here is a nice video of Southern Italy Puglia region in Italy

grandma and grandpa Salerno wedding engagement photo…………………………………………………

…and here is their wedding photo 🙂
grandma and grandpa Salerno wedding photo

Grandma and Grandpa Salerno
…with my brother Phillip and I and my Mom
(Left to right: Grandpa Salerno, Brother Phillip,
Grandma Salerno, me with the Bow Tie and my Mom)
grandma and grandpa salerno, my brother, mom and me

Grandma and I in the kitchen
I just LOVE this photo!
This was taken somewhere in the mid 80’s in South Florida
me and grandma salerno

Francesca Sette Capozzi
(My grandmother’s Mom)
(Died when Anna was a baby)
No photo yet 😦

Philipo Capozzi
(My grandmother’s Dad)
Philipo Capozzi (My grandmother's Dad)

Great grandma and grandpa Salerno
(on my mom’s side – my grandfather’s parents)

Giovanni Salerno (Panon)
(My grandfather’s Dad)
No photo yet 😦

Raffaela Salerno (Nannon)
(My grandfather’s Mom)
Raffaela Salerno (Nannon) (My grandfather's Mom)

Before we dive into my family tree information. Check this out!!!

This is amazing! Sometimes for me, figuring out an official name of a relative in regards to relation is like doing higher math! This is incredible. If you go to: and just type in a relation in plain English it will give you a graphic tree with the relation name. For example, I put in this for my search:
“my aunts son’s daughters daughter” and it gave me this answer in graphic family tree format! Amazing!


This is so wonderful! Give it a try. Really helps figure out the complex family relations.

The Family Tree
(on my grandma Salerno’s side)
The Family Tree (on my grandma Salerno's side)
The Family Tree (on my grandma Salerno's side)
More detailed family tree information below

Peter and Ann Capozzi (Daughter and Son of Philipo Capozzi)
(This is a photo of my grandma Salerno and her brother Peter)

Peter and Ann Capozzi (Daughter and Son of Philipo Capozzi)Peter and Ann Capozzi (Daughter and Son of Philipo Capozzi)
Rev. Francis Clement Capozzi
(Francis is Philipo Capozzi’s brother – My great uncle)
Rev. Francis Clement CapozziRev. Francis Clement Capozzi

Click here to read an article written by Francis C Capozzi called:
Where I Found God.
(Be patient it’s a 2.6mb PDF file)

A really BIG thanks goes out to Scott (Never late for an Italian meal)
Benlevi who is a Capozzi cousin of mine of whom sent me the
copy of the article and the nice photo above of Francis in uniform 🙂

Francis also was the author of these books:

Protestantism and the Latin Soul” (1918)

Dante” (1921)

Immortality in the light of modern thought …” (1925)

One World and One God” (1945)

God’s fool: A new portrait of St.Francis of Assisi.” (1956)

Where I Found God (Date unknown)

Information on these books can be found here.

Full text of Protestantism and the Latin Soul” (1918)

Also found this article:
“Francis C Capozzi – The Horatian Pilgrimage and Apulia” (1935)
Text for this is here.

Francis C Capozzi’s books on Amazon

Francis C Capozzi books
A big thank you to my cousin David Seaman (Francis Copozzi’s Grandson)
for letting me borrow these books!

Here are two special articles about Francis Capozzi I found along the way during my research. They are in PDF format.

The Rev. Francis Clement Capozzi
Priest and Schalor
Mrs. Hazel Copozzi Wife and Parish Worker

Excerpts from
Reminiscences and Musings of
A Retiring Episcopal Missionary
The Rev. Francis C. Capozi

Francis C Capozzi
Francis Capozzi Article
Francis Capozzi Article


Here is a special email correspondence I received from fr. michael di gregorio, o.s.a., an Augustinian friar, American, stationed in Rome, doing research on their friars who emigrated to the U.S. at the very start of the 20th Century to minister to the Italian immigrants especially in Philadelphia.

Dear Anthony, Here below is a bit of information which I’ve collected, apart from what you already know and have on your website.

Fr. Clemente was a friar, a member of the Order of Saint Augustine (Augustinians)( As such he professed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a member of the community, and was also, as you already know, later ordained a priest. At the end of the 19th Century, our friars in Italy undertook a special mission to follow the immigrants from that country to the United Sates, especially in Philadelphia where a special request had been made by the Archbishop for assistance. Over the course of the years about 40 friars became part of that initiative and established parishes in Philadelphia, South Jersey and New York. Some also served, as did Fr. Clemente, in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

Fr. Clemente arrived in the U.S. aboard the “America” sailing from Naples, together with another friar, Fr. Aurelio Marini, on December 22, 1910. Fr. Clemente’s destination was Holy Rosary Parish in Lawrence, Massachusetts where there was a large Italian immigrant population. Holy Rosary was a parish under the care of the Augustinian friars.

Sometime thereafter he was assigned to Buon Consiglio Parish in South Philadelphia. This, too, was a parish under the care of the Augustinians, established in 1899 by friars who had come to the U.S. from Italy expressly to minister to the new immigrants arriving from Southern Italy. At some point he also spent time in one of our communities in Mechanicville, New York, though probably not for very long.

The cousin he mentions in the article “Where I found God” is Fr. Carmelo Capozzi, also a friar of our Order, who was born on October 28, 1874. He was professed as an Augustinian in 1891 and was ordained a priest in 1897. He served in various places in Italy, including Savona and Pomigliano and held positions of leadership in the Order.

I have found some additional photos of Rev. Francis Capozzi on the website of St. Joseph Episcopal Church in West Bangor. (

Best wishes, Fr. Michael

More family tree documentation and stories
(Compliments of my cousin Gus (August C. Bolino). Anna Salerno was Gus’s Aunt)

My cousin Gus wrote this wonderful book documenting Ellis island. Many Italians immigrated to America first coming through Ellis Island. My grandma Salerno and her brothers and sisters came through this island. Documentation below. Ellis Island, at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor, was at one time the main entry facility for immigrants entering the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For more information on Ellis Island this is a good place to start.

Fortunately, cousin Gus also wrote a private book just for his family documenting a lot of the history of the Copozzi line. As part of the graphic of the inside back binding, is a copy of a ships manifest that my grandma Salerno was on. Details of that are below along with many valuable bits of history about our family that I am very grateful to have thanks to my uncle Johnny Salerno mailing me a copy of this wonderful book that I had no idea existed! 🙂

Below I have placed just some special items from the book, valuable family tree information that helps me keep all the family straight and stories as well. EnJoY!

the ellis island source book

Ellis Island Plaques
(Official certificate of registration)
Ellis Island Plaques
Ellis Island Plaques

The S.S. Casrrta Ships Manifest Sailing From Napoli
(December 19th, 1919)

Circled in red below on the manifest are the names of Anna Capozzi and her brothers and sisters:
Rose Capozzi, Lucia Capozzi, Pietre Capozzi, and Guiseppi Capozzi.
All sailing alone without their parents to America! Anna was 6 years old at this time.
The S.S. Casrrta Ships Manifest Sailing From Napoli
(Blowup of circled area)
The S.S. Casrrta Ships Manifest Sailing From Napoli

The Capozzi-Salerno Branch Story
(Note: This is written from the viewpoint of cousin Gus, so where he says something
like Aunt Anna, he’s talking about my grandmother. Gus is the first person speaking in this story)
The Capozzi-Salerno Branch Story

The Capozzi / Salerno / Sette / Marsico Family Trees
(All of these family trees are in some way shape and form part of my family
with Salerno and Copozzi being the closest in line)
The Capozzi / Salerno / Sette / Marsico Family Trees
he Capozzi / Salerno / Sette / Marsico Family Trees
he Capozzi / Salerno / Sette / Marsico Family Trees
he Capozzi / Salerno / Sette / Marsico Family Trees
he Capozzi / Salerno / Sette / Marsico Family Trees

Nicholas Bolino’s Recipe and Notes on Making Wine
(Typical of Italian recipes from the old country, this is a little vague on the details!
For example: “Continue fermentation until the boiling stops– about two weeks”
Is it just me or might there be some important steps missing here?)

How to Make Wine as told by my cousin Nicholas Bolino, June 12, 1974. An old hand typed wine recipe sent to me from a cousin.

“Purchase grapes in the following proportion: 20 bushels of zinfandel to 3 bushels of moscata. Let grapes set for three or four days to settle juices; get barrels ready while grapes are settling.

Crush grapes into barrels, leaving barrels at least one-quarter empty to allow for expansion during fermentation. Continue fermentation until boiling stops – about two weeks. (You can hear the boiling process.)

Draw out wine from hole at bottom of barrels. This hole is about six-inches from bottom and is plugged with a large cork during fermentation. It is placed high enough to allow sediment to settle below the point at which wine is drawn off. The wine is placed in open barrels to allow additional slow fermentation (about four and five months).
The sediment (now called “venazza”) is next put into a large wine press and every drop of liquid is extracted. This is accomplished by jacking the wine press to the ceiling beams above the press and using a large seven or eight foot steel bar for pressing the sediment. It requires at least two persons to turn the steel bar for pressing the sediment. The wine that is drawn off by pressing is distributed equally in each of the other full barrels in order to maximize the flavor. The wine that is pressed has more of the grape essence than that which is obtained from the original crushing.”
That’s it! Easy as pie. WoW! Um.. uh…. I read this recipe for wine and I am frightened to attempt it. This is a typical old Italian recipe which is lacking some important details. This is just how my grandmother wrote down her Italian Recipe, very little detail. You put some of this, some of that and cook until done! Well, I placed this wine recipe here because it is family history for me and I sort of know how my family used to make home made wine.

Now lets see, I need to find a 7′ iron pole, I need a basement, wine barrels, where do I get wine barrels? 20 bushels of zinfandel to 3 bushels of moscata, yes, my local grocery store should have that… and a press of some sort. OK, got it. Wish me luck 😉

More to come…

Some old family photos

…and here is a little online family photo gallery from my childhood. Among these photos are my brother Phillip, Mom, Dad, my grandparents on both sides and Aunts and Uncles. My mom’s parents where the Italian ones. My Dad’s parents (The Baker side) where the English/Irish and my Mom’s parents (The Salerno side) were Italian.

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14 thoughts on “My Italian Grandma”

  1. Happy to say it’s been just over 4 years since I started making grandma Salerno’s spaghetti recipe, and I’m back at it again today. I always bring up her pictures and read the stories each and every time, I always play Italian music, and I always throw the bay leaves over my shoulder. An awesome recipe from an awesome woman who obviously came from an amazing family! So many Italian families refrain from putting theIr recipes online, it’s so great that Anthony shared this with everyone.

    God bless Grandma Salerno!!


    1. Thank you so much! Grandma Salerno would be so proud 🙂 So glad to her you are keeping the recipe going. So many will not take the effort to cook all day for a single meal, so worth the effort. Bless you!


    2. Thank-you for sharing with us Anthony.It is so delightful that you have preserved such treasured moments of your Life with your Family.Blessings to you and yours in this New Year and beyond,Truely made my day.


  2. Hi cousin! 😀 Just found this page and LOVE it — thanks for sharing all the details and memories. I have fond memories of visiting Aunt Anna and Uncle Louis in Shrewsbury, holidays seeing Uncle Peter, Uncle Joe (and that unforgettable laugh!), and so many cousins, Aunt Lucy and her frittatas and love of animals. I’m in touch with Rae and John over Facebook and look forward to a family reunion at some point! Hope you are well in these crazy times. xo xo Monika (Bolino line)


    1. Hi Monika, This is awesome. Always nice to meet a cousin. I spent a lot of weekends in Shrewsbury with grandma and grandmpa Salerno. Spent a lot of time in the kitchen with grandma Salerno. They were the most loving people I have ever met and the food was amazing! I remember spending time with grandpa Salerno in the living room, eating pasta on TV trays and watching candle pin bowling on a Saturday afternoon. Good times! I also loved grandma’s asparagus frittatas and Italian bread – YUM! Great that you are hooked up with my Mom and Uncle Johnny, just as loving as Anna and Louis. They learned from the best! Will have to find you on facebook. Happy cooking, happy times and share the love, Anthony


  3. Hi Anthony

    I emailed you about 10 years ago. Not sure what you wrote then . but your Grand Father ( Fillipo Capozzi ) I thought was a Brother too my Grand Mother Anna Letizia (Cappozi) Magnifico. But according to your family tree he was her Father making him my Great Grandfather. Now can you shed some light. My Father was named after him but he was deported in the anarchist issues of he 1920’s. Does that jive with what you know.

    John Magnifico


    1. Hi John, Nice to hear from you again. The family trees I have on the website were compiled by a cousin of mine. He spent many years working through it so I trust it’s accuracy. Your summation of Fillipo Capozzi being your great grandfather seems correct. (A father of your grandmother would be a great grandfather). Some times working out family relations can be like doing higher math! I’m not sure about the “deported in the anarchist issues of he 1920’s”. I have not heard of that. You may have to do some more digging.


  4. Just wanted to let you know it’s been almost 3 years since I posted on your blog and I am about to make Grandma Salernos recipe again ❤️. I still to this day make this recipe every 3 months or so and think of her and your blog EVERYTIME. God bless you and your family and god bless Grandma Salerno.


    1. This is wonderful!! Grandma Salerno would be proud! Happy Easter! I am making sausage bread today for my contribution to Easter feast for tomorrow.


  5. Awesome recipe. I have tried spaghetti sauce recipes for years on the internet and for some reason I was drawn to this one. To my complete surprise I also found out a day after I made this sauce (when reading more about your family) that she was from Shrewsbury MA. I was born 15-20 minutes from there.


    1. Amazing! Yeah, I’d say you were drawn to the correct recipe! I spent a lot of time in Shrewsbury MA. My brother and I were there a LOT during the summers. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with grandma Salerno learning how to pour love into the cooking! Enjoy the recipe. The entire website is a labor of love! May the taste and smells bring you back to a simpler time!


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