Living in poverty stricken Southern Italy in the early 1900s a young boy, Pietro Romeo, dreams of immigrating to America.  He leaves his home and family when he was 16 years of age with $30.00 in his pocket and a small bag containing his meager belongings, sails across the Atlantic on one of the many immigrant ships and enters America through Ellis Island.

His life changes dramatically when he arrives in the new country through the people he meets, the events he lives through and the critical decisions he must make.

He works in the mines of Pennsylvania with his brother, Marcello, until he is involved in a horrific accident and forced to leave his job.

He leaves for New York and sees first-hand the dreadful conditions immigrants with little money are subjected to and the discrimination towards Italians in general during the early 1900s.  While there he seeks out his uncle, Antonio Romeo, who Pietro had always admired; only to learn he had become a greedy, cruel “padrone” who preys on the poor.  When Pietro confronts his uncle with what he has seen, he is forced to make a decision that would remain with him all his life.

While traveling on a train across the country, he meets a “paesano” from his hometown, Felice Manzano.  They form a lifelong relationship as they make plans for their life in California.  In San Francisco he meets a family that welcomes him as one of their own and he learns, from the patriarch of the family, how to use his talents to help him along his life journey.

He marries the beautiful, Rosa Trento and together they have a family and live through the decades that changed their lives; the 20s, the depression years of the 30s and the war years of the 40s.

You will meet his family, friends, acquaintances and paesani, who are all instrumental in his life and join him at his proudest moment when he became an American citizen and all that implies.

He was “PAESANO” to all who knew him.


A WINNER by Catlady535 on Juy 10, 2016

I loved this epic story of a boy from a poor Italian family immigrating to America in search of a better life at the turn of the 20th century and settling in San Francisco. Not a new story, it’s true. But the author vividly portrays the hard life of his family in Italy, making their meager living as fishermen, where the young sons did not go to school, but worked alongside their father to provide food for the family. Her narrative is rich with the details of their difficult daily lives. And when news of a better life in America reaches them, they become consumed by it and eventually leave home to find their fortune.

As a grand-daughter of Italian immigrants, I found much familiar in the story of this boy and his struggle to find his place in his new country. The characters are real, as are their struggles and their love for each other. Their sense of honor, devotion to family, and support for one another is inspiring. As generations of the family grow and prosper, their story unfolds against the backdrop of the Depression and World War II. It is as much a story of the San Francisco Bay Area as it is of this wonderful, wonderful family.

By Amazon Customer on July 19, 2016
I loved reading about what could have been my ancestors. They worked hard, never expecting a hand out. They formed small communities where they lived and worked together, and loved BIG! They so appreciated the land of opportunity! I could picture my loud, boisterous Italian family as I read this book. Such a great reminder of the sacrifice of Italian immigrants. A great read!
AWESOME READ  By Amazon Customer on August 1, 2016
Just finished the book, WOW!! Couldn't put it down...I am so impressed!! Must admit, I almost cried a couple of times...very touching and heart felt. It truly gives you an idea what all Italians had to go thru once they entered New York, while maintaining their personal lives with a true hope for something better in America. You have to do a sequel. Congrats!!
I LOVED THIS BOOK By Mary L Maldonado on August 25, 2016
I loved this book. I could not put it down I read it in three days!! The story is Great!

A Beautifully Written Novel...It Made Me Proud of My Italian Heritage...Loved It!  Frank C.

Profile Photo Bettina Baggetta

About Bettina Baggetta

Bettina Baggetta, lives in Las Vegas with her husband of sixty years; she is a proud mother of four, “Nana” – as her many grandchildren call her, “great-Nana” – as her great-grandchildren call her, genealogist and author.

She loves everything Italian especially her Italian heritage and genealogy, which she has spent decades researching.   Over her lifetime she gathered many family stories from parents, grandparents and anyone who would want to talk to her about Italy and her heritage.  When she and her husband traveled to Italy to visit the country from which their grandparents emigrated and the town in which her father-in-law was born, she interviewed family members still living in the "old country".

When she retired after many years in a successful career in Management, she started recording these stories for family members and through a successful blog of her Italian ancestry. She was encouraged by family members and blog followers to write a book - this is how her first novel, PAESANO was born.

She calls herself the “Grandma Moses” of authors, saying she started so late in life to finally put her stories on paper; stories that she has carried, in her mind and heart, ever since she was a little girl – these are her words.


All books by Bettina Baggetta

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