Ever Wonder Who Brought Fireworks Shows to the US? Hint: Thank Italians

The vibrant, aerial displays that impress crowds today date back to the 1830s, when Italians combined metals with explosives to develop colored fireworks.

Before you head off with the family to your local fireworks show (if it hasn’t been canceled, that is), it’s worth noting that the booming aerial displays we enjoy today originated in Italy.

In the 1830s, Italians combined various metals and explosives to create bursting, colorful fireworks.

National Geographic reports:

Around this time, family businesses such as Fireworks by Grucci and Zambelli Fireworks, now two of the United States’ largest and oldest firework companies, made modest names for themselves in Bari and Caserta, Italy, respectively.


These Italian firework families participated in activities like single-shell competitions—rocketing one firework into the sky and selecting a winner based on factors like design, sound, size, and color—says Phil Grucci, chief executive of Fireworks by Grucci.

The family-made fireworks hit U.S. shores in the late 1800s during the Great Arrival, as millions of Italian immigrants poured into Ellis Island.

For the full history on fireworks, including their Chinese origins, click here.

Happy Fourth of July!

Share your favorite recipe, and we may feature it on our website.

Join the conversation, and share recipes, travel tips and stories.