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The monument located at Olive Avenue and the Boardwalk was created to commemorate Giovanni da Verrazzano. The monument was sponsored by the Delaware Commission on Italian Heritage and Culture. Of special interest, the owner of the Verrazzano family castle donated three stones taken from the castle. These stones now serve as part of the foundation of the monument.
Origins & Voyages to America
Verrazzano was born into a rich family of Val di Greve, south of Florence, the son of Piero Andrea da Verrazzano and Fiammetta Capelli. Although he left a detailed account of his voyages to North America, little is known about his life. After 1506-1513 he moved to Normandy, at Dieppe, where he began his career as navigator; in 1523, he was invited by King Francis I of France to explore and area between Florida and Terranova, in order to find an all-water route through the newly-found Americas to the Pacific Ocean. He neared the area of Cape Fear on about March 1, 1524 and he explored the coast further northwards, reaching modern North Carolina and the Pamlico Sound lagoon. In a letter to Francis I, he wrote that he was convinced the latter was the beginning of the Pacific Ocean. This report caused one of many long-lasting errors in the depiction of North America in contemporary maps.
He also entered in contact with Native Americans living on the coast. Subsequently he passed by the Cheasepeake Bay and the Delaware River, without registering them; in New York Bay he observed what he deemed to be a large lake, which was in fact the Hudson River. He then passed by Long Island and entered the Narragansett Bay where he received a delegation of Wampanoag; here Verrazzano noted a "Norman Villa", marking it on his map. He stayed there for two weeks, and then moved northwards, following the coast up to the modern Maine, the south-eastern Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, after which he returned to France.
The cause of Verrazzano's death is not known for certain. The most popular story places his death in 1528, while exploring Florida, the Bahamas, and the Lesser Antilles. Verrazzano anchored away from shore and rowed in in a little boat to greet the natives. But he found that they were not pleasant natives who wanted to trade. Some say that he died in the Caribbean, killed by cannibals who ate him immediately. According to some other sources, Verrazzano was killed in 1528 on his third voyage to the New World, by the natives of the Lesser Antilles. Whatever the case was, Giovanni da Verrazzano died at the age of 43. Dedication Dignitaries: Attorney Richard DiLiberto(Chairman of the Delaware Commission on Italian Heritage and Culture), Massimo Mattei, President, County Council, Florence Italy, And Sam Cooper( Mayor, Rehoboth Beach, DE)
Primary documents were recently discovered at the family castle of 16th Century Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano. Although it is not known for sure, it is generally assumed that Verrazzano was born in 1485, at his family's castle. He died in 1528 in the Lesser Antilles. Giovanni was a Florentine explorer sailing under the French flag.
The primary documents were created by Giovanni and his brother. The documents described the Atlantic Coast of Delaware and included a map of the Delaware Coast. Recently, a Delaware State Historian traveled to Castello Verrazzano near Val di Greve, 30 miles south of Florence, Italy and established the authenticity of the documents and verified that Giovanni did in fact chart the waters of Delaware off the Atlantic Coast.
The monument to commemorate Giovanni da Verrazzano was sponsored by the Delaware Commission on Italian Heritage and Culture. Of special interest, the owner of the Verrazzano family castle donated three stones taken from the castle. These stones now serve as part of the foundation of the monument.
Dedication of the Monument
Dedication of the monument was held on Saturday, October 18, 2008 at the monument site located at the Boardwalk and Olive Avenue in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
The dedication ceremony was led by Attorney Richard DiLiberto, Chairman of the Delaware Commission on Italian Heritage and Culture, which sponsored the monument. A delegation from various regions of Italy (Tuscuny, Liguria, etc.), was headed by Massimo Mattei, President of County Council, Florence Italy, who addressed the audience in eloquent Italian, to the delight of all in attendance. Mr. Mattei’s speech was interpreted into English by Mary Teresa Morrison of Rehoboth Beach. The Color Corps of the Delaware Father Capodanno Knights of Columbus enhanced the celebration with a traditional salute as the monument was unveiled by State Historian and Archivist Russell McCabe and blessed by Father Anthony Pileggi.
Prior to the dedication of the monument, the Delaware State Flag was flown over Legislative Hall in Dover, the capitol of Delaware, and then draped the monument at the dedication ceremony. It was then presented to Luige Cappellini at the Verrazzano Castle in Greve in January 2009. The flag is now on display in the castle. The flag within the castle now draws a link to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.