Roads to Appalachia through the Mezzogiorno

June 20 – July 3, 2014
Featuring the regions of Campania, Calabria & Sicily in Southern Italy
Arrangements by National Travel of West Virginia

Invitation to Town and Gown Participants

Announcing:  An exciting excursion to southern Italy, also known as the Messogiorno, the land of “the midday sun,” between the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas.

The Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center on the campus of Fairmont State University and  Pierpont Community and Technical College, in collaboration with the Calabria – West Virginia Italian Heritage Association,  will sponsor  this “Roads to Appalachia through Study – Travel Abroad” from June 20 – July 3, 2014, that focuses  on the unique similarities between Appalachia and southern Italy’s heritage, especially as found in the prima regions of Campania,  Calabria, and Sicily where many Italian West Virginians can trace their cultural roots through ancestors  who were part of the massive migration of labor force needed  to fuel the Industrial Revolution  in American at the beginning of the 20th Century. As outlined in the itinerary, travelers will experience the contrasts of regional  landscapes, architecture, works of art and folklore, as well as exploring famous cities, visiting small villages and forests, eating wonderful food, seeing historical monuments and buildings, and meeting artisans. At the heart of our journey are two special excursions.  The first is the annual festival in honor of San Giovanni (Feast Day – June 24) in the hill town that bears his name.  The second is a visitation and recruiting program to the University of Calabria, in Rende, which has a student exchange program with Fairmont State University.

Academic Credit and Student Travel Scholarships

This 2014 Study – Travel through southern Italy is being hosted by professors Dr. Judy Prozzillo Byers, Director, and Mr. Noel W. Tenney, Cultural Specialist, for the Folklife Center.  Pre-travel sessions, materials, and presentations, along with a listing of selected readings will be housed at the Folklife Center and its Fidura Special Collections Library.  Folk 3350,  Special Tropics:  Roads to Appalachia Study – Travel Abroad, will be available for three hours of credit, during Spring Semester 2014, on Thursday evenings.  A number of student travel scholarships will also be available, selected through a competitive application process, for those interested in exploring the Italian language, culture, or study at the University of Calabria.  For scholarship applications students can contact the Gabor WV Folklife Center at 304–367– 4403 or  or Dr. Judy P. Byers at 304–367–4286 or

Prices, itinerary and application are available.

Scholarship Application

Contact Info

The Frank and Jane Gabor
West Virginia Folklife Center

on the campus of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community and Technical College
1201 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554
(304) 367-4403

Dr. Judy P. Byers
Dr. Judy P. Byers
, Director Frank & Jane Gabor WV Folklife Center,
  Abelina Suarez Professor, Senior Level,
  English & Folklore Studies
Fairmont State University
(304) 367-4286


FSUNow Stories

Monday, September 29, 2014

A local family has donated a first edition set of Civil War history books to Fairmont State University and the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center in honor of Norman L. Kronjaeger.

Through the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., Laura Kronjaeger Baker of Fairmont and Sherry Kronjaeger Hickman of Cornelius, N.C., presented “The Photographic History of the Civil War in Ten Volumes” to Dr. Judy P. Byers, Executive Director of the Folklife Center, and Tammy Whitacre, Director of Development for the Foundation, on Friday, Sept. 12.

Read more
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University will host folk music events on Thursday evenings this fall.

As part of the Introduction to Folk Music class taught by Lynette Swiger, a folk music concert featuring Elmer Rich and Mark Crabtree is planned for 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, in The Great Room of Cultures at the Folklife Center. The public is invited to attend. Admission is free.

Read more
Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is sponsoring a new art exhibit in downtown Fairmont exploring the common theme of identity.

The exhibit called “Identity Within and Without” will be on display throughout the month of September at the Joe-N-Throw Co-Op, 323 ½ Adams Street. The kickoff for the exhibit will take place on Friday, Sept. 5, as part of Main Street Fairmont’s First Friday. An opening reception is planned for 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Joe-N-Throw Co-Op.

Read more