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Representing Cowboy Life, Italian/American Style

Representing Cowboy Life, Italian/American Style

Joseph Sciorra (February 2, 2013)
Chris Moran/Nevada Commission on Tourism

The exhibition “Italian Buckaroos: Old World & New World”


Last night the Western Folklife Center opened its exhibition “Italian Buckaroos: Old World & New World” in its Wiegand Gallery.

Organized by artistic director Meg Glaser, with input from Drew Mischianti and Natalia Estrada, the exhibit presents the history and culture of the butteri in the Maremma region. Material culture and practices are made evident through the display of clothing, gear, and even vernacular architecture. Estrada’s wonderful photographs depict contemporary buttero life.  

Display of Natalia Estrada's photographs. Credit: Chris Moran/Nevada
Commission on Tourism

Recreation of a capanno (hut).


Foreground: I parammachia (chaps), Italy.
Background: Joseph Cappriola saddle, 1944, Elko.


"Buffalo Bill in Rome," 1890.
One Italian account tells of buttero Augusto Imperiali outriding the American
cowboys during their Italian tour.
The curators do an excellent job of documenting Italian-American ranching culture in northern Nevada, with display cases featuring immigration, gearmaking, and domestic life.

Gear by Adolph Biancani who was born in Pisa in 1865
and immigrated at age 13 to Elko.

Embroidery by Balsamina Tamara nee Lommori who emigrated in 1903 from Lucca.
Courtesy: Tomera Family.
This thoughtful and informative exhibit will be openn to the public until September, at which time it moves to “arte Italia,” the cultural arts center in Reno.

Balsamina Tomera's home altar with family heirlooms.
Courtesy: Tomera Family.

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