This month, the fifth annual Italian Heritage Festival at Honey Horn Plantation, brought to you by the Italian-American Club of Hilton Head, reminds us that an event of this size, with vendors, guests, residents and families from all over enjoying the Italian experience, means the Lowcountry is home to a burgeoning Italian-American village of sorts.
This transplanted culture brings with it the best it can offer, from old-world recipes made with fresh local ingredients, fine imported and local wines, sports that have their roots in the Italian countryside, live music, and of course, lots of conversation spoken in several dialects.
The Italian culture brings new meaning to the phrase, “It takes a village, to raise a child,” and we’re delighted to bring you a few examples of Italian-American citizens who have brought the best of both worlds to bear right here in the U.S. and on Hilton Head Island.
Maurizio Colla moved to Hilton Head 13 years ago to run an Italian restaurant with his first partner, who later moved away. At that time, Colla opened Il Carpaccio in Pineland Station with a new partner-chef Edenilson Campos, from El Salvador. Both of these men became American citizens during their early years, both like their residences here in Hilton Head, and the restaurant is a huge success.
In March 1955, 15-year-old John Impagliazzo, moved to the United States from Ventotene, one of the southern islands of the Italian archipelago known as the Ponziane Islands, located in the Tyrrhenian Sea just southwest of Rome.
From a large family, it took several tries to get the whole group fully settled in the United States, and Impaglizzo certainly paid his dues becoming a citizen.
He was stationed in Germany with the U.S. military, and later served in Vietnam. After touring Europe, he was able to finish his education with help from the GI bill at the New York Institute of Technology. His service to America did not end there, as he went on to work on a prototype of the lunar module during the early years of NASA, boasting that his signature on a contract went all the way to the moon!
Impagliazzo spent 27 years working as an aerospace technician in Norfolk before retiring to Bluffton in 2004, where he resides happily with his wife, Julie, and is a member of the Italian-American Club of Hilton Head.
Chef Gary Langevein
Gary Langevein is from Naples, Italy, and is co-owner of La Fontana Waterfront Grill. He has owned restaurants in Charleston for 22 years, and just recently opened this fabulous new eatery on Shelter Cove Marina, just overlooking the boats right next to the outdoor entertainment. Langevein learned to cook in Naples from his mother in their family restaurant, and loves the American experience of blending authentic cuisine and entertainment to create ongoing relationships beyond the dining experience. One of his partners at Shelter Cove is head Chef Pepe Gialone, also from Naples, and who also enjoys living on Hilton Head. Both are members of the IACHH.