Arpinatis & Parkers: A Friendship That Spans Continents

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Published: July 3, 2018 @ 6:07 PM EST

Nestled between Rome and Naples, Arpinum – the Roman name of Roselle Park’s sister city – has its origins that date back to before the common era. In existence for over 2,000 years, it was established as its own city in 90 BCE. The 21-square mile town has a population of a little under 7,300 and has an elevation of more than a quarter mile above the sea. By comparison, the one-and-quarter-mile borough with the ZIP code of 07204 was incorporated in 1901 and has 13,638 residents and is a fourth of a football field above sea level.

What they have in common, relatively speaking, is that they are both small towns that have unique histories that build on each of their futures.

A last-minute presentation at the June 21st municipal meeting had Councilman-At-Large Joseph DeIorio’s cousin Anna Maria Caldaroni – who was visiting from Italy – present the borough with a proclamation from Arpino, Italy.

Two years ago, a proclamation was presented between the Borough of Roselle Park in Union County in the state of New Jersey USA and Arpino in the province of Frosinone in Lazio, Italy 4,350 miles apart.

The connection between the two municipalities is through the councilman’s mother’s family who comes from Arpino.

Councilman DeIorio commented, “Tonight, my cousin has a presentation from the officials from Arpino to present to us in recognition of that friendship.”

Anna Maria who was visiting family was joined by her cousin Margherita Martino-Avella, a Union Township resident, to help with the presentation.

“Arpino is known as the city of art and has a lot of not only art but history with the mandolin, with the wool industry, and Cicero,” said the councilman-at-large, “If you go there I would encourage you to stop and enjoy the tourism of Arpino as it really emulates a true small Italian community where you can’t get that anywhere else. You can’t get that in Rome, you can’t get that in Florence, but you can get it in small towns like Arpino.”

Anna Maria read the proclamation proposed by Arpino Councilman Francesco Rabotti and signed by Mayor Renato Rea:

La citta’ di Arpino saluta la citta’ di Roselle park con fraterna amicizia. Un particolare ringraziamento a Joseph DeIorio e Thos Shipley( whisper, cant understand) interessante vedere le due culture la mia Italiana la vostra Statunitense. per la promozione di piu’ intense relazioni turistiche e culturali fra le due citta’.

The city of Arpino sends its regards to the city of Roselle Park with brotherly friendship. A particular thank you goes to Joseph DeIorio and Thos Shipley for promoting the touristic and cultural relations between the two cities.

Council DeIorio remarked, “Every time that, whether I, my husband, friends go to the town of Arpino, we’re welcomed with open arms. We’re treated like kings and queens. And because of that relationship, the relationship [with] Arpino, we wanted to build that relationship in Roselle Park.”

Anna Maria thanked everyone in Roselle Park for the hospitality she experienced while visiting the borough. Although she has passed through for a brief time recently, she has not visited for a stay in almost three decades. Anna Maria commented, “Era interessante vedere le due culture la mia Italiana la vostra Statunitense.”

This translated into “It was interesting to see the two cultures mine Italian and yours, American.”

Mayor Carl Hokanson, who was part of the presentation, asked Anna Maria, “Who makes the best pizza, Italy or America?”

After a pause, Anna Maria smiled and pointed to herself.

An Arpanati, a resident of Arpino, visited Parkers to keep the relationship between the sister cities growing and moving forward.