In a small town in New Jersey, one of the area’s first marble shops opened its doors. It was 1978 and the shop was called Romano and Son, named after its Italian owner, Olivero Romano, and his son, Paolo.
Mr. Romano was a tough old school Italian from Calabria. He spent much of his time in the shop or in the field managing his workers. Those who visited the marble shop were greeted by a young bright-eyed girl in the showroom. She seemed to know the business very well and was the delicate balance between the tough owner and his loyal customers. It came naturally to her, after all the girl was Antonella Romano, the owner’s daughter. Antonella emigrated to the U.S. with her beloved mother, Dora, and father, Olivero, when she was eight years old and started working in the shop when she was just 12, becoming the third generation in her family to enter the stone business.
Antonella graduated from The New York School of Design in New York City and exercised her design skills with every customer that walked into the showroom. She literally grew up around the stone business, taking care of the company’s books, and understanding the benefits of natural stone when most people had Formica® in their kitchens. She developed her own skills while helping her father, always combining her knowledge of stone with her keen sense of design.
For many of the people who knew her, they thought the sign outside should read “Romano and Daughter.” She certainly deserved the credit, but the sign never changed, and eventually, Antonella decided to move on to form Stone and Tile Emporium by Antonella Romano in Wyckoff, NJ, in 2005.
Antonella’s business flourished as she developed her own following of loyal customers. She had a savvy way of preparing special drawings and layouts to demonstrate her designs.
Clients included numerous local families, as well as many celebrities and politicians -- from Diana Ross, Tom Selleck and Eddie Murphy to Senator Frank Lautenberg, Joan Hamburg and Rudy Giuliani. Her column, The Tile Oracle, appeared regularly in New Jersey's Bergen Record Home Edition and in (201) Magazine.
Antonella contributed greatly to the stone community by always teaching her clients and others about the benefits of using natural stone. She was a woman who lived her life fully, often drawing from the insight and skills she acquired from being a “stonecutter’s daughter.” (“The Stonecutter’s Daughter” is also the title of a memoir Antonella wrote which someday will be published posthumously.)
Antonella Lucia Romano Maniscalco was diagnosed with cancer in February 2020, and sadly passed away on December 12, 2020; she was only 53.
She loved the stone and tile business, serving her clients with enthusiasm, but first and foremost, she loved her daughter Alessandra Grace and husband Alessandro. She always made time for them before anything else.
Antonella will be missed greatly, always remembered as a role model for other women choosing a career in the stone industry, but especially for the fond memories she left to those who were fortunate enough to have known her.