Peter Palagi Sr.

America’s oldest ice cream truck company – Palagis Ice Cream Company has been in business since 1896, it was started by Pietro (Peter) Palagi. Pietro Palagi was born in Borgo Morzano Luca Italy in 1875 and in 1896 he emigrated to the United States at the age of 21. Peter started peddling fruits and vegetables and while seeking additional field of opportunity he also started selling ice cream. In 1899 Peter married Severina (Sarah) Finucci and they became parents to 11 children. The youngest boy was named Peter Jr. who would eventually take the reins of Palagis Ice Cream Company with brothers Phillip and Henri.

The company would become Peter Palagi Ice Cream. Three generations of the family would run the company for 102 years until 1998. The succession of ownership went from 1896 until 1940 the company was in the hands of its founder Pietro (Peter) Palagi Sr. The company would change hands and passed down to Peter Jr. and brothers Phillip and Henri Palagi in 1940. The company eventually ended up with only Peter Jr. and Phillip as owners and in 1976 again the company changed ownership to Donald Palagi who was Peter Palagi’s son. Donald Purchased the company from His father Peter Jr. and Uncle Phillip and became the third generation to run the company. 

Peter Palagi Jr. and Donald Palagi.

Alejandro (Alex) Arteaga.

The name of the company would eventually change from Peter Palagi Ice Cream to just Palagi’s Ice Cream Company. Donald ran the company for 22 years and in 1998 the company would again change hands but this time no longer to a family member. The new owner would be Alejandro (Alex) Arteaga who had been working with the company for 10 years. He ran an ice cream truck selling ice cream in Central Falls R.I. and the Fairlawn section of Pawtucket R.I. Again, there would be a slight change in the name of the company. The new name became Palagis Ice Cream Co. The only barely noticeable change was the removal of the apostrophe.


Going into the 2021 season the company will be celebrating their 125th anniversary! That is 125 continuous summers and counting. Today there is a fleet of 21 Palagis Ice Cream trucks that are housed at company headquarters, 55 Bacon Street in Pawtucket Rhode Island where the company has been located for a little over 50 years. This fleet of twenty-one trucks set out on their daily journey for a day of business selling ice cream throughout Rhode Island cities and towns (covering about 25 different towns doing daily routes).  Also covering a few Southeastern Massachusetts towns. Besides from going up and down streets offering our treats we often get calls for special requests such as family gatherings (parties), school functions like field day and also end of year or beginning of year welcome back events. We also get many calls for corporate events, mostly for employee appreciation treats. People also seek us for fundraisers where we come in as a vendor and donate a portion of sales back to participating organization.