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LJinPA

Little Italy in North Carolina?

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http://www.thesquaretable.com/Summer2004/valdese.htm

http://www.visitvaldese.com

These articles are about an Italian-Protestant settlement in North Carolina near Hickory. I just thought it would be interesting to point out since it wasn't often that Italians settled in the south aside from New Orleans. They were a small group of Calvinist-based Protestants called the Waldesians. I guess they later became Presbyterians. They came over fleeing persecution. Has anyone ever been here or familiar with the town of Valdese?

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Yes I have been there several times. It is a small town where the primary employment is based on furniture manufacturing. I forget the brand but it is well known. Most of the town is fairly picturesque as it is located at the base of the mountains and the are rolling hills throughout the town. Like many towns in this part of NC, many of the older buildings are built from local stones found in the area. Sorry I've never taken any photos of it, or I would post some here.

There is also a vineyard and winery there that makes quite excellent wine and it is named Waldensian Winery. It is open to the public and resembles a small winery as you would find it Italy. It's located in a hilly area surrounded by mountain like forests and the back porch of the winery looks down the hill at the grape vines. They are quite nice about providing samples of their wine and if you are not careful, you can get quit tipsy from it. LOL. They serve up several cheeses to go with it. They even have an Italian form of bowling at the winery which I forget what it is called. It's definately worth a stop if you are in the area. This is their website. Waldensian Heritage Wines

Waldensian bakery is a major bakery near Valdese that bakes bread for many grocery stores in western NC.

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Waldensian bakery is a major bakery near Valdese that bakes bread for many grocery stores in western NC.

Sounds like a great town to visit one of these days :D

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There is Waldensian Presbyterian Church. It apparently was organized by the group of Italians that you are referring to LJ.

image003.jpg

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I think the bowling you may be referring to is Bocci Ball. I've never played it but my neighbors do.

As for the wines, I was actually tempted to make a thread on that alone. I was reading up on wines a while ago and found a Charlotte Observer article on North Carolina "wine country" and how the industey is growing. I guess it's roughly located between Hickory, Wilkesboro, and Winston-Salem. I wonder if anybody's had these wines.

I guess in a way the Waldesians were to the Italians as the Huguenots were to the French except they were far less numerous than the Huguenots. Most of the Waldesians came from the Piedmont region by the French border. As most Italian-Americans my grandparents were from central and southern Italty. I do have one great-grandmother who was born in the Piedmont and I know that region is very French influenced.

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Actually there are a significant number of winerys in North Carolina now. You can find out more at http://www.ncwines.org

As you can see on this map there are over 50 winery's in NC now and they are spread all over the state, but there is a very heavy concentration in the Yadkin Valley. (purple area)

wineriesMap.gif

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I've been to Valdese several times, as I was born in Hickory. I remember it looking like a "mill town" but with dramatic geographic features (of course that was in the 1970s)

And I always thought it was a German town! hee hee

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And I always thought it was a German town! hee hee

Well the Northwest part of Italy where they came from is closer to SW Germany and Switzerland (and of course France) than it is to Rome. I guess the Piedmont/Western NC was otherwise a German/Scotch-Irish settlement for the most part. Much of those "Germans" came from PA from SW Germany, Switzerland, and even present day France.

The Waldensians were nevertheless Italians, but what many Americans and esp Hollywood think of when they think Italian is usually "Southern Italian" (Sicilian, Napolitano).

Most of the time when people think "Protestant Italian" they think of Intermarriages, Conversions, or the small handful who formed pentecostal churches (on American soil) due to problems w the American Catholic hierarchy. Italy remains nominally Catholic. Many don't realize however that there was actually a small Protestant element to the Italians. Their shared Calvinist background at least gave them something in common with the Scotch-Irish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensians

That srticle explains them better, mentions Valdese, and also points out that I've been spellins it wrong it's "WaldeNsians"with an "N" sorry... :rolleyes:;)

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There is Waldensian Presbyterian Church. It apparently was organized by the group of Italians that you are referring to LJ.

image003.jpg

That's a beautiful church!!

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Well the Northwest part of Italy where they came from is closer to SW Germany and Switzerland (and of course France) than it is to Rome. I guess the Piedmont/Western NC was otherwise a German/Scotch-Irish settlement for the most part. Much of those "Germans" came from PA from SW Germany, Switzerland, and even present day France.

The Waldensians were nevertheless Italians, but what many Americans and esp Hollywood think of when they think Italian is usually "Southern Italian" (Sicilian, Napolitano).

Most of the time when people think "Protestant Italian" they think of Intermarriages, Conversions, or the small handful who formed pentecostal churches (on American soil) due to problems w the American Catholic hierarchy. Italy remains nominally Catholic. Many don't realize however that there was actually a small Protestant element to the Italians. Their shared Calvinist background at least gave them something in common with the Scotch-Irish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensians

That srticle explains them better, mentions Valdese, and also points out that I've been spellins it wrong it's "WaldeNsians"with an "N" sorry... :rolleyes:;)

Wow, that is pretty cool!! I never knew we had an Italian settlement here in North Carolina. With German-Moravian AND Italian settlements in NC, that makes us especially diverse for a southern state!!

I know that some German Moravians came over to Pennsylvania around 1735 or so, and then soon moved down to North Carolina. To my knowledge, Pennsylvania and North Carolina are the only 2 states that have German Moravian settlements. Do you know how long the Italian settlements have been here??

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There is Waldensian Presbyterian Church. It apparently was organized by the group of Italians that you are referring to LJ.

image003.jpg

I love the landscaping of that church

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That is truly a beautiful scene, a great treasure for the Hickory area. I'll have to check this out someday. Did the Italians build this church? It doesn't seem exactly fitting for Italians.

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.... Did the Italians build this church? It doesn't seem exactly fitting for Italians.

Maybe you are unfamiliar with the Vatican.

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<_<

I meant it doesn't look particularly Italian... Maybe I am thinking of a stereotypical image of Italian design...

I'm may be dumb, but not that dumb...

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<_<

I meant it doesn't look particularly Italian... Maybe I am thinking of a stereotypical image of Italian design...

No wonder, its a Presbyterian church, not Catholic, as these were protestant Italians from northern Italy as explained above.

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