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The history and culture of Italian heritage in Omaha encapsulated in new mural

Posted at 7:25 PM, Jul 19, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Every detail, every stroke of a paintbrush, adds a piece of Italian history for the community to see.

"Mi anima. That means I am putting my soul into this," Lita De La Guardia, an artist working on the mural, said.

Lita De La Guardia is a first-generation American from Carlentini descent and an artist dedicated to this mural.

"As far as the importance of the historical accuracy, is that we want to make sure that people understand what the culture is, not only that," De La Guardia said. "The authenticity is important."

From pizza and pasta to the train tracks the immigrants helped to build, right here in Omaha, each piece of the mural are memories the community holds close.

"Tons of Italians and Sicilians come here daily and say 'No, no, no, that's not right, that's not right you better change that or that's perfect, that's beautiful,'" De La Guardia said.

After analyzing several buildings, the South Omaha Mural Project landed on Orsi's Italian Bakery. It's a historic building in its own right as it is over one hundred years old. A long-time Little Italy fixture.

"We had a man sit in our lawn chair and looked very thoughtful and we asked him what he was thinking about, and he was 95 years old. And he was glad his father didn't miss the boat," said Richard Harrison, with the South Omaha Mural Project.

A culture so rich and a piece of art all-encompassing. a distant relative, The Carlentini Mayor visiting Omaha this week couldn't hold back when seeing it for the first time.

At this moment, this mural brings two worlds together.

"It's just the most wonderful thing to be able to see this entire mural. Just come about the way it did," De La Guardia said. "When you look at it, you have to see that their soul is also into it. It's not just how I feel. It's how we all feel."

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