The second monument in Rhode Island is Piazza Marconi at the corner of Atwood Avenue and Plainfield Street, Johnston
Johnston has a very large Italian population and just before the turn of the 20th century it was close to half Italian American. At the time, the Mayor William R. Macera was a big fan of Marconi. Knowing this, it didn't take Vincent Frattallone of the Italian cultural Society Comitato Tricolore per gli Italiani nel Mundo (Tricolore Committee for Italians in the World (CTIM)) much effort to convince Macera that Johnston should be the spot to honor Italy's most celebrated native sons.
Talks began in 1999, and two years later the idea turned into reality. The intersection of Atwood Avenue and Plainfield Street was the spot. This was also on the border with Cranston, another town with similar demographics. Approval of the State General Assembly was needed ad Atwood and Plainfield are both state roads.
In 1999, Macera met Marconi's youngest daughter Princess Elettra Marconi when she visited Johnston while touring the US promoting the book, “My Beloved” about her father by her mother, Maria Christina Marconi. Macera though, what better person to dedicate the memorial once installed!
On April 25, 2001, the 127th anniversary of Marconi's 1874 birth, the plans came together. Piazza Guglielmo Marconi on the edge of a Walgreens parking lot, was dedicated. Reportedly the first "square" in the United States to be named for the inventor.
At the dedication, Princess Elettra, 71, spoke to the crowd via telephone from Bologna, Italy, speeches were made in English and Italian as well as the playing of the American and Italian national anthems. Dignitaries present were Johnston Mayor Macera, Cranston Mayor John R. O'Leary, Michele Frattallone of the CTIM, Providence Mayor Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci, Jr., state Senator Joseph Polisena, and state Representative Mary Cerra.
The first monument consisted of a ten-foot pole bearing a sign that read "Piazza Guglielmo Marconi," About a year later, with another call from the princess, a permanent monument was installed.
This monument was a small pyramid of dark gray polished granite with a metal transmission tower, complete with blinking navigation light. Designer Vincenzo Frattallone of the CTIM, not only made it look like a transmission tower, it actually was one. Although having a very weak signal, one could tune their car radio to 94.9 FM and listen to a recording of Marconi himself speaking on an infinite loop.
There was also a small sandstone element which appeared to depict two coasts connected by the words "Atlantic Link." was attached to one side of the pyramid. This addition disappeared from the pyramid sometime after 2005.
All funding for the monument, building and installation were organized by the CTIM. Materials and labor were donated by local Italian American businesses and organizations. Power came from the Walgreens and the transmitter was maintained by the Providence Radio Association.
On the 104th anniversary of Marconi’s Atlantic Link, the princess dropped by to see, and listen, to the monument and also visited another local Marconi monument on the shore of Pleasure Lake in Roger Williams Park. There she was presented with a key to the city by Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline.
In 2011, because of a water main break that flooded the intersection, the transmission equipment in the base of the monument was destroyed. Although still there, the monument to this day stands mute.
The third is not a monument but a garden. Marconi Gardens is located at Slater Park in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The Gardens were designed by and built under the supervision of Lawrence W. Corrente, Superintendent of Parks. Named to honor Guglielmo Marconi, Inventor of Radio, at request of Order Sons of Italy. It was dedicated July 17th, 1938 by Mayor Thomas P. McCoy and Commissioner Albert J. Lamarre.4