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         About Our Society

The Craco Society was founded in May 2007 as a non-profit organization to preserve the culture, traditions and history of Craco, the southern Italian hill town located in the Province of Matera and the Region of Basilicata.

In August 2007, over 50 charter members of The Craco Society gathered in Albany, New York for the first Crachesi del Nord America Reunion. The widely dispersed base of Society members was represented by participants that traveled from the Italian province of Matera, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Ontario, and twelve American States. The Reunion's agenda included the history of Basilicata and Craco, the immigrant experience, Craco in the 20th century, family history presentations, and genealogy research recommendations. Many members shared their photographs, home movies, and family stories, as well as delicious samples of regional foods.

  

The first annual Crachesi del Nord America Reunion, August 10-12, 2007

On October 28, 2007 nearly thirty members of our Crachesi family attended a Mass at St. Joseph's Church, in New York City, in honor of our patron saint and protector, San Vincenzo.   St. Joseph's Church, as ornate and beautiful as ever, remains a most appropriate home for our beloved San Vincenzo, who it is believed was brought to America from Craco about one hundred years ago. Following the Mass, a reception was held and a walking tour was taken of the lower east side of Manhattan, visiting Baxter and Mulberry Streets, walking on the same streets as many of our ancestors did upon their arrival in America over a century ago.

Mass for San Vincenzo, St. Joseph's Church, New York City, October 28,2007

The Craco Society organized an inaugural trip to Craco from June 14 - 21, 2008.  This event marked the largest return of descendants ever, with 44 members returning to their ancestral home to learn more about their roots, reconnect with family, and establish many new family links.  The residents of Craco could not have been more accommodating and gracious in welcoming us.  The Craco Society was also officially recognized by the local government in Craco, promising continued goodwill and cooperation for generations to come!

The Craco Society's inaugural trip to Craco, June 14-21, 2008.

By almost any measure the Second Annual Cracheshi del Nord America Reunion held in New York City's Little Italy was an overwhelming success.  With 119 individuals participating in events over  three days from August 15-17, 2008 the turnout alone, which more than doubled the initial meeting held last year, was  an outstanding achievement.  Even more awe-inspiring events developed over the weekend, including the presentation of a statue of San Vincenzo to The Craco Society by Camille & Vincent Niceforo

The 2nd Annual Crachesi del Nord America Reunion, August 15-17, 2008

The 3rd Annual Crachesi del Nord America Reunion, held in Brooklyn and Manhattan over the weekend of Oct. 23, 2009, once again allowed us to gather and share warm memories.  We were also able to revisit former homes, schools, churches, and local landmarks of the Crachesi's migration to Brooklyn. Intentionally held to coincide with the feast of San Vincenzo Martire, this Reunion also provided an opportunity to hold a celebration in Manhattan's Lower East Side akin to what was done by the early Crachesi immigrants, and is still done in Craco.
Attended by 130 individuals of Crachesi descent, there were several recommendations from members about plans for the Society for future events. These included a 2010 trip to Craco and a Reunion next year in the Catskill region of upstate New York, which was a popular getaway from the city bound Crachesi in the mid-20th century.

The 3rd Annual Crachesi del Nord America Reunion, October  23-25, 2009

Twenty five members embarked upon the Society's second trip to Craco from June 26- July 2, 2010.  They stayed at the luxurious Torre Fiore resort, located on the outskirts of Pisticci.  They visited not only Craco Vecchio and Craco Peschiera, but Tursi, Castelmezzano, an olive oil processing plant in Ferrandina, a street festival in Matera, the Carlo Levi museum in Aliano, and the Amaro Lucano plant in Pisticci Scalo.  The trip received rave reviews from all who attended!  

The Craco Society's second trip to Craco, June 26-July 2, 2010.

The design of our Fourth Annual Reunion was based on member requests to provide a facility that allowed more participation for families. Held at the Villa Roma resort in Callicoon, N.Y. from August 6-8, 2010, this location afforded a complete schedule of daytime activities, indoor sports complex with bocce, shuffleboard, ping pong, table and video games, indoor swimming pool & Jacuzzi, fully equipped fitness center, outdoor bocce & shuffleboard courts, and outdoor swimming pools.
At the Reunion, the 70 participants had a great chance to learn directly from those who joined in the Craco 2010 trip; sharing their impressions and experiences there. Presentations also included a history of Craco, the premiere of the Society's latest project; the translation and publication of the Colibri Association's Homage to the Madonna della Stella, and members memories of summers spent in the Catskills.  Family life and growing up in Craco were also highlighted. 

The 4th annual Crachesi del Nord America Reunion, August 6-8, 2010

The October 24th 2010 celebration of the Feast of San Vincenzo at St. Joseph’s Church in Manhattan was highlighted by the unveiling of the restored 109 year-old statue.  The restoration work was completed only three days before the Feast.  The most visible changes were the addition of drapery that covers the bare brick wall behind the statue and the saint’s turquoise cape. Extensive research of San Vincenzo in Craco was done in order to match fabrics and colors.  The statue of San Vincenzo at St. Joseph’s Church now is as close a match to the original as is possible bearing in mind that the two pieces are separated by many years and many miles.  After Mass, the 40 participants enjoyed a wonderful meal and fellowship at Il Cortile Restaurant in Manhattan's Little Italy.

The statue of San Vincenzo, St. Joseph's Church, New York, October 24, 2010

Our 5th annual reunion focused upon the 110th Anniversary of San Vincenzo in New York. On Friday, October 21, 2011, the group gathered at Sirico’s in Dyker Heights to meet and share stories of the past year. The mood was set with a photo montage that showed historic scenes from daily life in Craco Vecchio, along with fantastic images of the village and countryside. Saturday the group gathered for a luncheon meeting at the Rex Manor in Brooklyn. The lively group gathered around a series of photographs and scenes of the Societá S. Vincenzo Martire di Craco along with many other photos that members brought. After exchanging many stories, the group enjoyed a wonderful lunch. Afterwards, a presentation about the history of San Vincenzo in Craco and New York was followed by the announcement of plans to sponsor a trip to Italy next year, under the theme of "Basilicata: Coast to Coast."  Sunday, we gathered at St. Joseph's Church in lower Manhattan to celebrate San Vincenzo's 110th anniversary in North America. Besides the annual mass, a special ceremony to dedicate a memorial plaque was held. It was followed by a buffet lunch in the church's gathering room, where nearly 70 individuals of Crachesi ancestry had an opportunity to visit and share stories and recollections about our common roots.

The 110th Anniversary Mass for San Vincenzo. St. Joseph's Church, New York, Oct. 23, 2011

During the weekend of July 27-29, 2012 90 people attended the 6th Annual Crachesi del Nord America Reunion. With the theme of a "Reunion Within A Reunion" families came in groups representing the historic Craco clans. Attendees used the time to exchange stories and research family history. The one formal session included a history of the surnames in Craco and a virtual tour through Craco to visit the homes of attendees’ ancestors.

CRACHESI AT VILLA VOSILLA—The attendees at the 6th Annual Crachesi del Nord America Reunion are shown outside the Villa Vosilla Resort Hotel.

 

The 7th Annual Crachesi del Nord America Reunion was held on Oct. 26th and 27th, 2013 to coincide with the 112th celebration of San Vincenzo in New York City.  Over 70 Society members kicked off the event Saturday evening with a dinner- dance held at Sirico’s in Brooklyn.  Sunday morning the group attended the annual Mass to honor our patron saint at St. Joseph’s Church on Monroe Street in Manhattan.

             The 112th annual Mass to honor San Vincenzo, and the statue in St. Joseph’s Church.

 

Members gathered on Aug. 16th and 17th, 2014 for the 8th Annual Crachesi del Nord America Reunion. Here they “found” the Lost Neighborhood of New York’s Lower East with a guided tour through the much changed neighborhood our ancestors once called home.  It was followed by a luncheon in the heart of this historic area.  The following day we participated in the 125th Mass and procession honoring San Rocco, immersing ourselves in tradition at the oldest Italian feast in New York. 

 The 8th Annual Crachesi del Nord America tour in front of what was once 42- 44 Baxter St., in New York City.

 

As of November 2014, the organization has grown to 466 members.   Our enthusiastic and vibrant society is currently working on projects to meet our future goals.  These include: expanding our membership to reach the many Crachesi descendants worldwide in an attempt to share the history, culture and traditions of the town.   We are planning our next event, the 9th annual Crachesi del Nord America Reunion next summer, and the celebration of San Vincenzo's 114th year in New York in October, 2015.  We will continue to work to support the preservation and renovation of Craco Vecchio from the ravages of nature, obtaining historical and genealogical records and establishing even closer bonds with the residents of Craco.  We invite anyone with a special place in their heart for this ancient, historic town to join us in our mission.

 

 

 

 

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