Those who arrived from Italy leave their marks in the DR

Italians have been present in Dominican life since the arrival of Christopher Columbus, offering significant contributions in art, architecture, history, political, social, economic, religious, cultural activities. They have contributed to the national identity and participated in patriotic struggles.

Their surnames are part of the Creole genealogy because the first to come left numerous descendants.

“Immigrations came from Piedmont, at the beginning of the 19th century; in the middle they were from Liguria (Genoa and its surroundings) and at the end and beginning of 1900, from the South of the Peninsula (Campania and Calabrina)”, wrote the renowned historian Frank Moya Pons.

And with the rise of sugar and coffee, they also came from Corsica, but of Italian descent, noted the renowned genealogist Antonio J. Guerra Sánchez, who offers copious research on that presence, pointing out ancestors of the Billini, Bona, Bonetti, Cambiaso, Bancalari, Vicini, Porcella, Landolfi, Spignolio, Capano, Schiffino, Pezzoti, Marranzini, Ronzino, turned here into heroes, pious men, philanthropists, prosperous merchants, collaborators in the wars of Independence.

Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso

Others who became presidents of the Republic such as Francisco Gregorio Billini, historian, costumbrist, sociologist, who ruled the country from 1884 to 1885, and Juan Bautista Vicini Burgos, who held that position between 1922 and 1924, during the United States Military Occupation. , to facilitate the evacuation of those troops. He was the son of Juan Bautista Vicini Cánepa, who arrived during the splendor of the sugar industry.

Juan Bautista Vicini Burgos

Billini, for his part, descends from Juan Antonio Billini Ruse, who arrived “as a soldier in the service of France”, Guerra says. To this are added the heroes Hipólito Billini Hernández and José Altagracia Billini Mota.
The Bonetti come from Giovanni Nepomuceno Bonetti Judijo, and the Vicini and Porcella families originate from Ángelo María Vicini and Anna Canepa. “A son of these, Angiolino Vicini Trabucco, came named by his uncle Gio Batta”, he adds.

Outstanding were the Pezzotti, Marranzini, Ronzino, Palamara, Svelti, Bolonotto, Di Carlo, Vincitore, Ferrúa, Forestieri, Panochia, Martinelli, Perrota, Bonarelli, Rimoli, Cáffaro, Abramo, Cavagliano, Rainieri, Mastrolilli, Cestari, Stefan, Campagna.

And Amadeo Barletta, who was in prison in 1933, accused of conspiring against Trujillo and achieved his freedom thanks to Mussolini’s threats to the Dominican dictator. He came with his brother Antonio.

The national palace. Priests. The architect Guido D’Alessandro Lombardi was the builder of the National Palace that still houses the President of the Republic and his collaborators, while, in another order, it is stated: “The first resident bishop of Santo Domingo was the Italian Alessandro Geraldini ”. José Luis Sáez Ramo, a Jesuit historian and educator, further writes that he was named by the bull of Pope Leo X in 1516.

Add Friar Leopoldo Ángelo Baldassare, second apostolic vicar of Santo Domingo, from 1870 to 1874 and Rocco Cocchia De Cesinali, Ricardo Paolo Pittini, Giovanni Francesco Fantino and others.

Bishop Alexander Geraldini

Juan Bautista Cambiaso, founder of the Navy and first admiral of the Republic, a native of Genoa, is also recognized. He “He was the creator of the first armed naval flotilla and trained the first Dominican officers.”

In the April Revolution of 1965, Ilio Capozzi joined the fight for sovereignty and was mortally wounded in the assault on the National Palace.

In an extensive relationship by the genealogist and lawyer Edwin Espinal Hernández, the Pugliese, Russo, Riggio, Zaleta, Pagani, Grisolía, Menicucci, Rossi, Caputo, Palermo, Divanna, Pezoti, Fersola, Cantisano and others are cited among other Italians or their descendants. scattered throughout the Cibao where they distinguished themselves as pharmacists, bookkeepers, doctors, painters, portrait artists, decorators, peddlers, photographers, jewelers, merchants, tailors, shoemakers, umbrella stands, artisans, grocers, watchmakers…
The Antonellis were military engineers, Gianfranco Fini intervened in the Casa de Campo navy, others left their mark on the First Cathedral of America.

There are also the Pellerano, Maggiolo, Ravelo, Giudicelli.

View of Avenida Italia, between Independencia and Anacaona avenues

The street

On April 11, 1973, the National District City Council recognized “the deep ties that unite the Dominican Republic with the people of Colón and Garibaldi” and the “industrious colony that over time has known how to permeate the sensitivity of the Dominican people who considers it part of his own. And he designated Avenida Italia “to the current Sao Paulo avenue of the 3rd avenue of the general Antonio Duvergé expansion.”


Data extracted from “The Italian legacy in the Dominican Republic. History, architecture, economy and society”.

Those who arrived from Italy leave their marks in the DR