By John Lynds
Growing up in East Boston in the 1990s, Rep. Adrian Madaro was exposed at a very early age to the proud Italian traditions celebrated throughout the neighborhood. While Eastie’s unique restaurants, annual Italian cultural celebrations and family members had a profound impact on Madaro’s identity as an Italian American growing up here it was his trips abroad that solidified his heritage.
Madaro’s father Jacopo, an Italian immigrant from Venice, would take his family back to Venice for Carnivale each year.
“I grew up speaking Italian and going to Italy from the time I was born,” Madaro said. “This was perhaps the most educational and rewarding thing my parents did for me while growing up. Not only was I exposed to the Italian traditions in East Boston but the Italian traditions in Venice that are very unique and in many ways very different than here or the rest of Italy.”
Last week, life came full circle for Madaro, who was baptized in Balsilica di San Marco in Venice and holds a dual citizenship here and in Italy.
Speaker Robert DeLeo appointed Madaro to co-chair the state legislature’s new Italian Caucus. Madaro will co-chair the caucus on the House side with Rep. Paul Donato (D-Medford). Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) will chair the caucus in the Senate.
“It’s an honor to serve in this role representing the House as co-chair of the Italian Caucus,” said Madaro. “Being the son of an Italian immigrant, my father, and a third-generation Italian-American on my mother’s (Debra Cave) I have always been proud of my culture and heritage.”
Madaro said the new caucus, made up of state representatives and senators of both parties, was put into motion after the Italian Consul General to Massachusetts Nicola de Santis asked the state legislature to form an Italian Caucus.
“It was really a collaborative effort,” said Madaro. “The Consul General and both the House and Senate have been working for a while to form a formal body that can concern itself with positively enhancing Italian cultural in the state as well as increase bilateral relations between the state and Italy.”
Already Massachusetts is one of the leading traders with Italy in the United States.
“With almost 14 percent of the state’s population identifying themselves as “Italian American” the speaker and Senate President Stan Rosenberg thought the time was right to have a caucus to enhance trading opportunities while celebrating out heritage in a more formal way.”
The caucus held its first formal event in the State House’s flag room last week and included de Santis, as well as the Ambassador from Italy Armando Varricchio. It was Varricchio’s first visit to Boston since becoming Ambassador.
“This is a very bipartisan and open group that not only includes full blooded Italians but members who have some Italian heritage or even a wife or husband who is Italian,” said Madaro.