Around here, we’ve become pretty adept at recognizing the symptoms of an Italian American obsession… and this week’s guest can easily be diagnosed within a few moments of first meeting him!
Ray Guarini is the founder and driving force behind Italian Enclaves, an immensely popular Italian American social media platform on which Ray has set out to identify and catalogue the countless Italian American enclaves that add so much incredible Italian culture to the American mosaic. Since his last visit to the show in its earliest days, Ray and a team of equally-obsessed volunteers have grown the Italian Enclaves brand to include its first published book, New York City’s Italian Neighborhoods, in-person meet-ups, and a 501(c)3 non-profit organization known as the Italian Enclaves Historical Society, a charitable network dedicated to expanding Ray’s mission and bringing his work to the next generation.
We sit down with this Italian American All-Star to discuss just how his platform has expanded in recent years, how two years of limits and lockdowns have affected the nation’s Italian neighborhoods, how to discover the hidden Italian communities dotted across the country, and how the famed ethnic enclaves of America’s cities stack up against the often unknown centers of Italian life in America’s suburbs and rural areas.
Ultimately, we’re asking what constitutes an Italian enclave, and how all of us can play our part in their continuing evolution, making sure they continue to thrive for the next generation of Italian American obsessives!