Stone people: “Courage and Progress immortalized in natural stone“ by the Italian immigrants who came to Brazil 150 years ago

The Scaramuzza family around the year 1900 at the Prosperidade farm: sitting patriarch Pietro Scaramuzza and matriarch Giuseppa Bracheschi Scaramuzza with their children, a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter. One of the youngsters is Luigi Scaramuzza.

On February 21, 1874, the sailing ship “La Sofia” arrived at the Port of Vitória in Brazil

By Araciene Scaramuzza Pessin

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On February 21st, 1874, carrying 386 Italian immigrants, the sailing ship “La Sofia” arrived in Brazil at the Port of Vitória, marking the effective beginning of Italian immigration on Brazilian soil. Espírito Santo became the State where Italian Immigration in Brazil began, and the colony of Timbuy, later called Santa Teresa, was the first Brazilian municipality founded by Italian Immigrants.

It is estimated that at the end of the 19th century, more than 500,000 Italians had arrived in Brazil.

15 years later, in 1889, among the families on board another immigrant’s transporter, Pietro Scaramuzza, his wife Giuseppa Bracheschi, and their children Luigi, Giuseppe, and Ângelo also reached the Port of Vitória.

After spending some time at the outskirts of Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, today about 140 km road distance from the cost or a two-hours-drive by car, they settled in the mountains of that municipality in an area where there was a large farm called Prosperidade (prosperity).

In the lands of Luigi Scaramuzza, the eldest son of Pietro and Giuseppa, white marble lay dormant. In 1957, his nephew, Horácio Scaramuzza, extracted, with Luigi‘s permission, the first block of white marble that marked the effective beginning of the stone sector in the State of Espírito Santo.

Estevão Marcelino Scaramuzza aged 98, grandfather of Araciene Scaramuzza Pessin (right), honored during a dinner promoted by the University of Marmoraria, inside a white marble quarry, in the mountain range that marks the effective beginning of the stone sector.

By the end of the 1960s, samples of this marble from Espírito Santo reached the hands of the great architect Oscar Niemeyer, who specified them for the cladding of civic buildings in the national capital, Brasília, thus introducing the marble from Cachoeiro de Itapemirim to the world.

Italian immigrants and their descendants led the beginning of the stone sector in Espírito Santo. To this day, many families of Italian descendants perpetuate the legacy, mining and producing the stones that have established Brazil as the greatest geodiverse region in the world and the production and commercialization numbers of the State of Espírito Santo guarantee Brazil the positions of fourth and fifth-largest producer and exporter in the world ranking, respectively.

In 2024, Brazil and Italy celebrate the 150-year anniversary of Italian immigration in Brazil, and Espírito Santo, the state that harbored the start of the immigration, is promoting numerous events during the whole year that aim to highlight this historical moment and the significance of Italians and their descendants to our country.

As the great-granddaughter of Luigi Scaramuzza, I feel responsible for perpetuating the legacy of our family in the stone sector and also for honoring their memory by spreading this story of great courage and faith that drove them to come to Brazil.

Three generations in the white marble quarries where it all began: Araciene Scaramuzza Pessin with her grandfather Estevão Marcelino Scaramuzza and her father Aremildo Pessin.At the annual event of Rochativa, a social entity in the stone sector, Estevão Marcelino Scaramuzza received tribute for his family‘s leading role in starting mining in the State of Espírito Santo: (left) Tales Machado, president of Centrorochas, (2nd from left) Ed Martins, president of Sindirochas, (right) Eutemar Venturim, president of Rochativa.

Besides working as a businesswoman in the Stone Sector and an Interior Designer specializing in the applicability of stones for large projects in Brazil, I have worked on spreading the history of our sector, thus, in 2023, I curated the First Historical Exhibition of the Espírito Santo Stone Sector at Fenarq Design, an Engineering, Architecture, and Design Fair held in Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, Espírito Santo.

Throughout 2023, we were honored with numerous tributes, among which I highlight the dinner that took place within a white marble quarry in the mountain range that marks the effective beginning of the sector during the annual event “Conexão Stone,“ carried out by the Katiane Passos‘ Universidade da Marmoraria. In that event, which promoted a historic moment in the global stone sector, my grandfather Estevão Marcelino Scaramuzza, son of Luigi Scaramuzza, and I were honored for the importance of Luigi Scaramuzza’s “yes“ in 1957, when he accepted the start of mining on his lands, thus marking the effective beginning of our sector.

A moment of great emotion for everyone there was the speech my grandfather gave, aged 98, showing us the importance of perpetuating a family legacy.

I am pleased to announce that in July 2024, in the new edition of Fenarq Design, I will be curating the Historical Exhibition “Italians and the Stones from Espírito Santo”. In the exhibition, I will showcase the important role of the Italians and their descendants who bravely entered the stone sector, promoting the growth and progress of this sector over the last 70 years.

Many are the Italian families who came to Brazil searching for a prosperous future, and this exhibition is expected to make all descendants feel honored and to honor our Italian ancestors and the legacy of courage and faith that allows us today to prosper.

Araciene Scaramuzza Pessin (Instagram)

Universidade da Marmoraria (Stonemasonry University) (Portuguese)

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(21.02.2024, USA: 02.21.2024)