Earlier this year, our own San Francisco Italian Consul General, Mauro Battocchi, posted an important observation in his blog at San Francisco, Italy, www.sanfranciscoitaly.com
. Consul General Battocchi noticed an increase in interest of all things Italian in the San Francisco Bay Area. He called this welcomed phenomenon the “Italian Cultural Spring.” Happily, this phenomenon really took hold throughout this year and promises to continue with sustained verve in the summer and fall months.
Italians, Italian-Americans and Italophiles in record numbers are proudly displaying a sincere fondness of la vita italiana, the Italian life. We see this trend taking hold in the tech industry, the many local social and cultural events, and even in the recent running of the Indianapolis 500 motor race, when, on May 26, a California born Italian by the name of Alexander Rossi won the 2016 Indy 500. Rossi is the first American-born rookie to capture the race in 88 years. This was a win for Michael Andretti’s team as Rossi drove #98, NAPA Auto Parts Andretti Herta Autosport Honda.
On May 31, the San Francisco Bay Area honored Italy’s Republic Day (celebrated on June 2 in Italy), officially marking the date with a grand celebration hosted by San Francisco Consul General Mauro Battocchi at the St. Francis Yacht Club. The elegant affair was attended by hundreds of people with dignitaries including Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Italian Gold Medalist Dorina Vaccaroni and Italian Tenor Pasquale Esposito.
The Statuto Race at the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club
June 5, brought the 96th running of the historic Statuto Race, America’s fourth oldest foot race which began in 1919, which begins in front of the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club. The Statuto Race commemorates the Statuto Albertino, the Italian “constitution” that laid the ground work for the unification of Italy.
June 5th was also Italian-American Day in Golden Gate Park, presented in cooperation with Italian Community Services. Under sunny skies, Program Coordinator Maria Fassio Pignati sang both the Italian and American national anthems to a crowd assembled in the Golden Gate Park Music Concourse. The Golden Gate Park Band provided concert music along with the Simi Cantori Ensemble. Italian opera and popular tunes so delighted the children that they danced to the music.
On June 11 and 12 hundreds of people turned out for the 62nd annual North Beach Festival located in San Francisco’s Little Italy. Surrounded by decades-old Italian businesses with names like Columbus Café, Sotto Mare, Gino & Carlos, crowds enjoyed great food, Italian Street painting, live music, arts and crafts.
If you missed these festivities, do not despair. There are more enjoyable events celebrating the Italian culture to come so dust off your red, green and white for the summer and fall months of allegria.
Festa Coloniale Italiana Delights North Beach
August 20 – Festa Coloniale Italiana
This event takes place on Stockton Street, outside the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club across from Washington Square Park. Activities focus on Italian Culture and heritage past and present. For more information, go to http://www.sfiacfesta.com
San Jose Italian Family Festa
August 27 & 28 – Italian Family Festa
San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley have a thriving Italian community and one of their premier events in the Italian Family Festa presented by the Italian American Heritage Foundation. The Festa was started in 1980 and is now in its 36th year. It shares a tradition of culture, history, music, food, arts, and games, featuring a “Villaggio Culturale” experience at History Park in San Jose. For more information, go to http://www.italianfamilyfestasj.org
September 15 – San Francisco Giants Italian Heritage Night
October 1 & 2 - Madonna Del Lume Festa & Blessing of the Fleet
The 81st annual Madonna Del Lume events include an annual mass and procession from St. Peter and Paul’s Church in North Beach down to Fisherman’s Wharf with a blessing of the fleet, a fishing boat parade, and memorial ceremony honoring those lost and/or perished at sea. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/MadonnadelLumeSF.
October 7 is the date of the Italian Consulate Reception and October 9 the Italian Heritage Grand Ball at the Mark Hopkins. Details about these two special events will become available in the next few months.
October 9 – Italian Heritage Parade
The annual Italian Heritage Parade is San Francisco’s oldest civic event. It began in 1868 and is the nation’s oldest Italian-American parade. The parade winds its way from Fisherman’s Wharf to North Beach and includes dozens of handcrafted parade floats featuring Bay Area businesses, community groups, Italian organizations, local high school Italian clubs, marching bands, special appearances by “Christopher Columbus” and Queen Isabella and Her Court, festive open-air dining, Italian musicians and performance artists. The parade website is at http://www.sfcolumbusday.org/parade