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Italian American Conditions

Italian American Conditions

Annie Rachele Lanzillotto (April 9, 2015)
Annie Lanzillotto
5th generation Italian American girl sating her Pizzamania by chewing a huge hunk of fresh pizza out of a coal oven.

Certain conditions are observed in Italo Americani such as: Fritattagoraphobia and L’Agoraperdutaphobia



Conditions of the Italian American

Annie Lanzillotto copyright 2015


Italo Americani suffer unique conditions:



·      Symptomology: the nervous fear of leaving the house for any length of time without a frittata nella borsa, a frittata in your pocketbook.  I’ve observed this condition in my mother for decades. 

·      Epidemiology: Principally noted in children of immigrants particularly women with depression-era childhoods, and their offspring.

·      Known exacerbants:

1.     Memories of hunger

2.     Childhood trauma of being shamed for one’s appetite

3.     Price gorging at restaurants

4.     Filth at restaurants

5.     Small portions at restaurants

6.     A draft or inadequate heating at restaurants

7.     the unavailability of trustworthy food away from one’s domicile

·      No known cure exists, but symptoms are abated when adequate food for a substantial meal is carried on any excursion out of the primary residence, even very short daily trips.

·      Genetic predisposition suspected.

·      Documented: first case documented by the author at The Smithsonian Folk Life Festival  2001 in her improvised cooking show.  Also noted in the book “L is for Lion” and the video “Fritattagoraphobia”



·      also known as: Focacciamania

·      Symptomology: sense of torture brought on by the aroma of fresh pizza before one has access to the pizza.

·      Epidemiology: worldwide

·      Known exacerbants: driving home in a car after buying a pizza or any small space infused with the aroma of a freshly baked pizza where the sufferer cannot take a slice.

·      No known cure exists.  Symptoms immediately dissipate with the shoving of a piece of pizza or focaccia into the mouth.

·      Hereditary.



·      Symptomology: intense howling and longing with stomach pangs for your mother’s meatballs.  Sufferers are known to go on hunger strikes refusing to eat any other foods.

·      Epidemiology: worldwide and noted in canines as well as humans.

1.    No known cure exists.  Symptoms immediately dissipate with Mamma procuring her meatballs

2.    Hereditary.



·      also known as: Lapiazzaperdutaphobia

·      Symptomology: panic of losing interactive public meeting place, the loss of agora & piazza culture, extreme isolation in society, specifically the fear of losing the art of Italian public interaction; the art of public greetings and dialogues facilitated in public space, the ability to argue and eat and smoke and fight and drink and fuck in the piazza out in the sun near a fountain.

·      Epidemiology: hyperendemic across Italo Americani urban society.  Most noted in the Northeast.  Observed in 3rd gen Italo Americani poets and artists.

·      No known cure exists. 

·      Known exacerbants:

1.     urban architectural practice in American cities of setting resting places with iron spikes making sitting or laying down impossible and hazardous to the human corpus.

2.     “No loitering” signs and the concomitant illegalization of “hanging out” 

3.     the teaching to children, “Don’t talk to strangers”  

4.     the concept of “strangers” 

5.     parks or public spaces with signs that say: “Adults allowed only when supervising children”

6.     proliferation of camera surveillance in public spaces

7.     replacing of human workers with mechanization; example EZpass replacing conversational toll booth workers.

8.     phone answering services where the caller is guided by a robotic voice through numerous questions; again the removal of a human worker to answer phones and greet the caller.

·    Genetic predisposition positively determined.


Il’Ossessione del pavimento sterillizato –

            also known as: i batteri nel tappeto phobia

·      Symptomology:  excessive fear of bacteria living in the carpet, compulsive cleaning of the floors, carpets, sidewalks, streets with bleach, white vinegar, ammonia, high pressure hose water.  

·      Epidemiology: Noted in the writing of Joe Papaleo by Fred Gardaphé, who quoted Papaleo as writing about the unique religious devotion that Italian American children of immigrants, particularly suburbanites, evolved for their Cadillacs and the sterilizing of their carpets.  Also noted in the poetry of Cassandra Casella who reports scrubbing floors and walls with ammonia.  Also noted by my mother Rachele Petruzzelli Lanzillotto who burnt her lungs as a young wife mixing ammonia with bleach to clean the floors.  (a combination known to produce a mustard gas variant).  Has been noted in Greece for hundreds of years most notably on the Aegean islands with the ubiquitous practice of painting the sidewalks white every Friday night, originally to contain plagues and contagion.

·      No known cure exists.  Symptoms are temporarily quelled after the exhaustion of cleaning the floors, often while they are drying, before anyone has walked on them again after the cleaning.  Sufferers are known to relax in hyper sterile environments such as the best hospital rooms, or ultra-white and clean domestic, office, or social environments stripped of clutter or dust.

·      Known exacerbants:

a.     light colored dustpans that highlight the accumulation of dust when gathered. 

b.     Sponges or sponge mops - known to harbor bacteria.

·      Genetic predisposition positively determined.



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