The signs were paid for out of the Sister City account.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Two signs at the southern and western entrances to the city now proudly proclaim its relationship with Sister City Tremosine sul Garda in Italy.
The 3-foot by 4-foot signs were installed Tuesday near the signs marking the North Adams border — one at Hardman Industrial Park and other near Harriman & West Airport.
The two communities have been in the Sister City program since 2005, when the late Dr. John Moresi and Ed Morandi led the first of what would become an annual trip to scenic Northern Italy.
Many North Adams residents have ancestors who grew up around Lake Garda. Former councilor Marie Harpin, who went on that first trip, joked that the cemetery is full of North Adams names.
She's not wrong. One of the first immigrants from Tremosine was a Rosasco; he was followed by Bonas, Cellanas, Cozzaglios, Desrosiers, Donatis, Faustinis, Franzonis, Ghidottis, Marchettis, Morandis, Moresis, Pedercinis, Remillards, Spragues, and Veraschis — just a snapshot of a lengthy list of names that can be found iin the city and around the Berkshires.
Moresi, who died in 2013, had been very interested in genealogy and his parents' ancestral home and frequently visited and lectured on the region.
"Before I start any of my talks on Italy and Italian cultures, I always like to respect and to honor our ancestors when I say that I was privileged to be born the son of Italian immigrants," he told the Historical Society back in 2000. "[I] only realized that when supposedly I became an educated man. One does not realize, until you've lived it, the courage, the innate genius that many of these people had."
Morandi, a member of North Adams Sister City Committee, said the signs are duplicates of those installed in Tremosine some years ago — although a bit smaller — and that one his counterparts in Italy, Laura Morandi, had provided the correct wording.
The Italian signs were installed in 2007, when the James Bond film "Quantum of Solace" was filming there.
"These beautiful signs affirm the relationship between North Adams and Tremosine sul Garda and the rich heritage of our two communities," said Mayor Thomas Bernard, who posed with committee members and participants in the annual trips.
The City Council had approved the signs at the request of Morandi earlier this year from the Sister City fund.
Morandi said he wanted to thank the mayor, City Councilor Marie T. Harpin, Commissioner of Public Services Timothy Lescarbeau and Administrative Officer Michael Canales for making it happen.
He had been among those who signed the official documents in Italy confirming the two communities were "Citta Gemellate" back in 2005 under former Mayor John Barrett III.
"I've socialized with the people of Tremosine, found many second and third cousins, personally contributed gifts to the people of Tremosine, and have made hundreds of friends," he told the City Council in requesting the signs.
Representatives from Tremosine have visited North Adams twice and the senior Harpin recalled how they had entertained the group when their bus was delayed by giving them a tour of the public safety building.
"Oh my gosh, they were climbing on a fire truck and they got a ride around the city," she laughed. "I think that was a highlight of their North Adams trip."
Morandi said one of the gentleman from that tour still wears a gift badge and police cap he was given. He said there is an amazing outpouring of friendship whenever the North Adams group visits.
The group will be heading back to Tremosine next May.
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