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New York Celebrates Italian National Day

Roberta Cutillo (June 04, 2019)
Following the Italy Run, organized by the Consulate together with Nutella Cafe and New York Road Runners, which took place on June 2nd, the celebrations for Italian National Day picked up again the following day at the Italian Trade Agency, the Italian Cultural Institute and the Consulate General of Italy, with a series of events featuring prominent Italian brands, figures, food, and a delightful jazz performance by Chiara Civello.

Although the ‘Festa della Repubblica’, Italian National Day, is celebrated on June 2nd, one day just wasn’t enough for all of this year’s festivities. After the successful second edition of the Italy Run, a 5-mile race through Central Park organized by the Italian Consulate, Nutella Cafe and New York Road Runners, celebrations picked up again on June 3rd.

They began at the Italian Trade Agency, where guests had the chance to celebrate the accomplishments of Italian companies and brands in the US while enjoying top quality Italian products, including De Cecco pasta, Kimbo Caffè, Galvanina sparkling sodas, Ambrosi parmigiano, Bono olive oil, Fraccaro pasticceria, and Beretta salumi.  

“This is never a routine celebration,” said Maurizio Forte, the director of the Trade Agency, “because there are always new reasons, new accomplishments to celebrate on this important date and it’s an honor to celebrate it in this country, where Italy has many ties - 25 million, maybe more, descendants, but also thousands of Italians, like yourselves, entrepreneurs, managers, and talents in many sectors.”

“There are many reasons for our special bond with the US,” commented Italian Ambassador to the US Armando Varricchio, who came to New York to celebrate this special occasion, “73 years are certainly an important page of History. From those difficult years, when Italy rolled up its sleeves and got back up, seeking and obtaining the support of the US: we will always remember the ships that brought food to a starving country. But Italy has been able to win appreciation and respect by showing how we are able to be serious and work.”

Three gorgeous Lamborghinis - red, white and green like the colors of the Italian flag - appeared in front of the Consulate General of Italy at 690 Park Avenue, attracting the attention of many passersby.

This was later followed by the inauguration of two brand new designer Cassini bookshelves filled with Italian books kindly provided by Rizzoli Bookstore as part of a new initiative to promote the Italian language: “Mentre aspetti il tuo turno...leggi in italiano!” (while you wait for your turn...read in Italian!) The books are in fact placed in the Consulate’s waiting room and available for all to read, skim or admire.

“We selected a variety of books from several publishers, (Rizzoli, Mondadori, Einaudi, Piemme, Sperling, Giunti, Bompiani) which represent our roots,” commented Livia Senic-Matuglia, Store Manager at Rizzoli International, who went on to explain that the idea is that everyone who passes through this room - Italians but also Italian Americans - will find something that resonates with them.

The Ambassador and Consul General were obviously present at the inauguration, along with prominent figures such as Italian actress, filmmaker, and author Isabella Rosselini and writer Antonio Monda, whose books are included in the new library.

Other personalities attended the festivities, including paralympic athlete, disability spokesperson, author and politician, Giusy Versace. “It’s amazing how sports become a great instrument for social inclusion and knock down cultural barriers. I was impressed to see how many Italians were present at the race but also so many Americans who love Italy,” she commented after kindly agreeing to stop and give us an impromptu interview.

“I think that in these occasions, especially for those who watch this from home, for people who are tired, who have lost confidence, who no longer feel stimulated to go out and embrace life, sports gives so much energy, it can move everyone,” she continued in her contagiously positive and upbeat manner.

Franciacorta wine and Aperol Spritz were poured and the reception officially kicked off with a performance of the Italian and American national anthems by the young musicians of the Scuola d’Italia Guglielmo Marconi.

“This event is a great occasion to reinforce the strong ties between Italy and the US,” stated Ambassador Varricchio. “It is an important celebration in Italy but also, and maybe more so, for Italians abroad. We celebrate the accomplishments of everyone in this room.” Pointing to the “blue flag” next to the Italian and American ones, the Ambassador then added that this is also an occasion to celebrate the importance of Europe. “Being an Italian citizen also means being a European citizen,” he said.

It was then time for the musical entertainment. Italian jazz singer and musician Chiara Civello delighted the audience with a short but soulful piano performance next door at the Italian Cultural Institute. Civello performed pieces in Italian, English and Portuguese, and gave a preview of her current project which involves creating Italian versions of great Brazilian songs.

Finally, the food came out and guests continued to mingle over various Italian delicacies and a special new dish created by chef Davide Oldani: the “Granotricolore.it,” named so in honor of the Italian flag.

“In moments such as these we understand how present Italy is in New York and how strong the love for Italy and Italians is here,” concluded Consul General Francesco Genuardi.

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