The Italian Lesson - A Family of Sicilians

Turns out it's more than just a childhood nickname!


In Sicily if your name is Antonio or Gaetano, you become Tanuzzu, which in English boils down to Tanoots or Tonoose. The "tan" part is pretty much the middle of Antonio and Gaetano. The 'uzzu" suffix means "dear one."

My name in Sicilian is "Sarbaturi," so they take the end of it "turi" and add a suffix so the name becomes "Turiddu," or "Little or Kind Turi." In America we dervive knicknames from the first part of our names; they do so from the last part and often add endearing suffixes. Sometimes these suffixes indicate size as in "Michelino," little Michael, which they called my father, the last of his siblings. If they add "one" or "oni" to the name, the size is BIG.

What brought this on? THIS:

A Family of Sicilians: Stories and Poems
by Salvatore Buttaci

A beautiful memoir of Sicilian culture through the collected writings of Salvatore Amico M. Buttaci.

(198 pages) Paperback: $14.92 plus Handling & Shipping



Professor Antonio Ciappina, treasurer of America Oggi, the biggest Italian American newspaper in our country, in 1998 said this:

"Your work is wonderful! You really have the soul of Sicily in the book. You have living portraits of life in Sicily. I've never read anything so forceful about Sicily. Really, when you start reading, you do not want to stop, you want to go to the end and no page tires you out. All told, your work brims with life on every page. With your trips to Sicily, you got hold of its soul, mind, heart. All my heartfelt congratulations, Professor Buttaci. God bless you!"

Erin Wright, Editor-in-chief of Buon Giorgo! Magazine in Columbus, Ohio, said,

“This is the book that no Italian-American should be without.”

And this from Herb Berman, Publisher of V.I.A. (Voice of the Italian American), Tamarac, Fla:

“You don’t have to be Sicilian or even Italian to appreciate the warmth, humor, and love of family and life, portrayed by Salvatore Buttaci in his book A Family of Sicilians…”

From A. J. Parisi of the Village Gazette of Ridgewood, Franklin Lakes, NJ.

“Its passages evoke the same kind of insightful images of charact and locale found in the best of Umberto Eco and Italy’s most passionate novelist and short story writer Alberto Moravia. The characters found in Buttaci’s prose are truly the voice of immigrants, their hopes, and their aspirations.”


Crazy old Uncle Tanoots works his best miracle since healing four sick pigs in San Cataldo, Sicily...

A spirit from the next world visits Grandma and asks her to help save a life...

A Sicilian nobleman marches off to war, leaving behind his wife and her two sisters walled up safely in his castle tower...

Grandpa asks his brother-in-law Vincinzu to get his donkey back...

A man accused of murder hires a lawyer who has nothing to say...

A Sicilian bricklayer comes back from the dead to appear live on the Jay Leno Show with a message for the world...

The author interviews the real Archimedes whom he has tracked down on the Internet...

A ten-year-old boy in 1900 time-travels to a Benito Mussolini rally in 1922...
See also: Tonoose the childhood nickname

Copyright © 2008 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved. Photos and content may not be used for commercial purposes without written permission.

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