Welcome to the ITALIAN HERITAGE SOCIETY of the Monterey Peninsula

Our purpose in creating this website and putting together our previously printed book, Italian Fishing Families of Monterey, is to honor and preserve the stories of the many Italian fisherman and their families whose work ethic and achievements helped to make Monterey the Sardine Capital of the World. This has to be done NOW before memories fade and photos are lost.

A few years ago, the Italian Heritage Society requested stories from members of Italian fishing families about how they or their ancestors came to Monterey from Sicily. The committee reeled in an overwhelming number of stories detailing memories of men, women and families, along with photos and documents; all “fish stories” in the truest sense.

Our website and book are meant to be shared not only among the families who are mentioned, but with the entire Monterey community and visitors to the area as well.  The stories of journeys taken and dreams achieved reflect the rich heritage of the Sicilian fishing families of Monterey who are living the American Dream.  We continue to request stories from not only fishermen, but other Italian families who have settled here and contributed to the history and culture of Monterey. PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL.

Ties with the Old Country remain strong.  In 2017 Gasper Cardinale, Peter Davi, Bert Cutino and Peter Coniglio were instrumental in making the City of Monterey a Sister City to Isola delle Femmine, Sicily, Italy, from which a majority of the fishing families emigrated. We celebrate that achievement and relationship!

Since 2002, the ITALIAN HERITAGE SOCIETY has recognized notable individuals connected to the Italian community at an annual Honorees Dinner.  The honorees are those whose contributions and achievements have enhanced and improved Monterey for all residents. They have made the community an even better place to live, earning them a place in local history.  Proceeds from the dinner benefit the Italian Heritage Society’s Building, Heritage & Scholarship Fund.

The ITALIAN HERITAGE SOCIETY, in conjunction with the Italian Catholic Federation, awards student scholarships yearly.  Future plans are to establish a museum or cultural center focusing on the contributions of our Italian-American ancestors.