NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As Italian Heritage Month wraps up, we’re taking a close look at what some families are doing to not only carry on Italian culture, but the language.
CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis spoke with those holding onto the heritage at home.READ MORE: New York City Announces First-In-The-Nation Vaccine Mandate For Private Companies
Speaking Italian over breakfast is the norm for the Inghirami family. At just 13 years old, Sofia Inghirami is fluent in two languages.
“It helps you in the world to know different languages and be aware of other people around you,” Sofia said.
It’s a lesson taught by her parents. Her mother is a native New Yorker with roots in Nicaragua. Her father was born and raised in Italy.
“We are really open to the world and this is what is important. Knowing the language allows you really to understand the details in the culture,” said Giorgio Inghirami.
“And to pass it on to future generations, and our family and friends,” said Nilda Inghirami.
Sofia attends La Scuola d’Italia on the Upper East Side. It’s a bilingual pre-K through 12th grade school that prepares students to have an international perspective.
“You’re forced, just by virtue of speaking more than one language, to see the world from the perspective of an other,” said Head of School Michael Prater. “I think that that’s fundamental for what it is to be a good citizen in a world that is multicultural.”READ MORE: New York City's New Vaccine Mandate Also Impacts Kids 5-11
DeAngelis spoke with several students to find out what that means to them.
“It’s very special for me, talking two languages when I’m only nine years old,” said 4th grader Elena Levato.
“I know a lot of people my age that have Italian parents and don’t speak Italian at home… you’re missing out on that side of your heritage,” said Giorgio Valente, a senior.
“The more languages you know, the easier it is to get around and interact with more people,” said Luca Rakowski, a senior.
“It’s very important, I think, to learn also the history of your language,” said 8th grader Luca Pellizzoni.
Which is why these students learn European and American history and read Shakespeare and Dante at the 45-year-old school.
“We love La Scuola because it feels like a family,” said Nilda Inghirami.MORE NEWS: Westchester County Issues State Of Emergency As COVID-19 Hospitalizations Double
A family dedicated to keeping the Italian language and culture alive.