The Sons of Italy Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, maintain a shrine-museum at one of the most important locations in Italian-American history. The former home of the Italian inventor Antonio Meucci hosted the exiled hero of Italian unification, Giuseppe Garibaldi between 1851 and 1853. The home is now a museum celebrating the lives and achievements of these great Italians and their remarkable time together.
I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor food; I offer only hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles, and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart, and not merely with his lips, follow me.
What You Will See
The Staten Island home, which dates to the 1850s, is filled with objects owned by both Meucci and Garibaldi. Antonio Meucci is credited with being the first person to transmit the human voice in real time over an electric current, decades before Alexander Graham Bell--the inventor usually credited with inventing the modern telephone--did the same. Many antique telephones fill the house, together with artifacts from Garibaldi's lifelong fight for Italian unification and liberation. The museum hosts a variety of Italian-American events, including lectures and films.
Why You Should Go
What is considered a necessary pilgrimage for Italian-Americans is almost as significant for non-Italians. The humble home preserves a corner of New York City history often overlooked amidst the many other stories told in this city. But for the Italian-Americans who have helped shaped the region, this is a touchstone for the connection between the Old Country and their New Home. The site of memorials, protests, and controversy, there is much to be learned from this home and what it symbolizes.