An interior bond ties me to America, where one of my grandfathers is buried. He tried the adventure of emigration, without ever rooting himself in a regular job and without managing to send a penny to the family in Italy, until he died almost certainly in an almshouse. My other grandfather crossed the Atlantic in 1902. He was a lumberman in Michigan, and afterward went to New Jersey to work as a miner. From 1906 to 1912, my father attended elementary school in Trenton and then returned to Trentino, Italy, with his mother and a sister who had been born in the United States. In 1920, the family was united again, even poorer than when they left for America, because the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire had destroyed the entire value of their savings on deposit with the Bank of Vienna.
I bring up these personal matters in order to show that the destinies of men are always interconnected, that our vocations stem from the experiences of our own fathers and forefathers. America has always been in my heart, and for that reason I have studied the history of the United States in colonial times, as well as 20th century American conservatism.
On the cultural plain, the bonds between Italy and the United States in the 1850's were very strong, the few Italians living in America notwithstanding. American poets and philosophers kept Italy in mind as an historical example and a source for European literature.