Italian Americans of Long Island: Pietro Cesare Alberti

This is the first in a new series about important Italian American figures on Long Island.

You can not tell the story of Italian Americans on Long Island without the first Italian native to settle on our land. That distinction belongs to Pietro Cesare Alberti, who immigrated from Venezia in 1635.

Alberti settled in New Amsterdam, the landmass known as Manhattan today and lived on Broad Street with his wife until 1646. He moved to Brooklyn, where they farmed 100 acres and raised their family of seven children until his death in 1655.

A small stone marker was dedicated to Alberti in Battery Park in 1958, and it was later rededicated by the Italian Historical Society of America and The Columbus Citizens Foundation. June 2, when he arrived in Manhattan, was designated “Alberti Day” to honor his immigration and pioneering pilgrimage from Italy.

The now-defunct Long Island Regional Chapter of the American Italian Historical Association dedicated a page in one of its sketchbooks in the 1970s to depicting his farmhouse in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, through a drawing by Dr. Michael Pitocchi (see image below).

Several historical websites reference Alberti’s large family tree that extends for generations through the present day. The name has been altered to Albertus, Bertus, Alberto, and several other variations. There is also a Facebook group dedicated to the descendants of Pietro Alberti, thanks to so much interest in his genealogy.

While the Italian American Heritage Society of Long Island largely focuses its efforts on Nassau and Suffolk Counties, there is no denying the geographic significance of Alberti being the first Italian native to live on this patch of land, be it Brooklyn or simply western Long Island.

Chris R. Vaccaro is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Italian American Heritage Society of Long Island. He is a media executive, professor, historian, and author from Long Island. Have a suggestion on who we should profile next? Email [email protected].


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