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New York Loves Festa della Repubblica!

Gero Salamone (June 04, 2015)
A vibrant tricolor FIAT 500, with a bold i-Italy sign speeds through the streets of Manhattan under a light rain, causing surprise and curiosity amongst onlookers, and reminds the many Italians in the city of the Festa della Repubblica, which was celebrated once more at the Italian Consulate General in New York.

An important date that of June 2nd 1946, which for Italians marked the passage to a Republic, leaving behind the unfortunate dictatorial experience of the Fascist regime, and opening the doors, very soon after, to the birth of our Constitution: a document still so young that it belongs more to our future than to our past.

A recurrence which gains new content each year, as is shown by the events that took place these 4 days, organized through the joint efforts of the Italian Consulate in New York, the ICE (Italian Trade Commission), and the ENIT (Italian State Tourism Board).

Breaching the soil of the enormous wooden door of the consulate's historical building, one found himself (or herself) surrounded by a repetition of colors echoing the Italian flag, not yet overcome by the smell of Italian cuisine coming from the neighboring ICE building, where a tasting and presentation of typical products was taking place.

The Cultural Institute was transformed into a route, in which one could pause in a photography exhibit before heading through modern art exhibits leading towards a cinematographic conference titled "Cinema Maestro!". As the Consul General Natalia Quintavalle comments "The conference was the 'fil rouge' of these celebrations that want to remind not only the importance of Italian cinema but also that of the contribution by the skillful scenographers and costume designers and of all those who work behind the scenes of these splendid Italian films".

The treasure hunt organized for the celebration of the Republic also had cinema as its theme and its winners, the "Celere" team composed by Alexo Wandael and Alessandra Rotondi, were rewarded with a gorgeous Vespa Piaggio as the first prize. 

Another important event was the awarding of the decorations to the order and merit of the Italian Republic. "They were numerous and high-ranking and we were very happy to have the consulate invaded by people eager to celebrate the festa della Repubblica with us". Amongst the decorations to the merit of the Republic, were those awarded to the journalist Giampaolo Pioli, New York correspondant for il Resto del Carlino and to the television host Maria Bartiromo, who through their assiduous work managed to give a detailed account of Italy in the stars and stripes continent. 

The national anthem sung by the students of the Scuola d'Italia Guglielmo Marconi and the American anthem beautifully interpreted by the singer Theresa Sareo, were followed with much emotion and tear-filled eyes by the many guests, among them: Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi - Italian representative at the UN - and the famous political figure Walter Veltroni who presented his documentary "I Bambini Sanno" (children know) at NYU's Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò.

Capably managing the entire series of events was the Consul General Natalia Quintavalle, who proved how important it is to represent today's Italy through art and culture, often taken as a model and imitated all over the world. "An Italian system that through its consular activitiy", she pointed out, "could always count on the support and the friendship of the American people". Although this is her last Festa della Repubblica, the Consul General will bring with her the image of New York as a city that loves Italians. "Americans have shown us much love and the Italian-American comunity adores us. I'll bring with me this series of emotions" she concludes. 

Present at the various celebrations of these eventful days was the new face of ICE, the director Maurizio Forte. "Just a few days after my arrival, I have already been warmly welcomed by New York, and what better occasion than during this celebration?".

"Our government is well aware of the importance of the American market and we are making big investments and we will soon take part in many events" Maurizio Forte explains.

"One of the first important events will be FMI Connect taking place from June 8th to the 10th in Chicago, which will have the participation vice minister Calenda. And the Summer Fancy Food presentation is not to be missed." Continues Mr. Forte.

"In the fall we have an intense program of promotion of food and agricultural products with big distribution chains as well as fashion. At ICE we interpreted Sistema Paese as the promotion of made in Italy within the food, wine and agriculture sectors but we are also giving space to universities where Italian is spoken, especially for young people wishing to work in 'made in Italy'".

"June 2nd proved to be an occasion to celebrate not only our republic but also our country", he concluded.

The celebration in honor of the birth of the Republic ended in soft jazz tunes by the Giovanni Guidi Trio, whose masterful performance matched the elegant baroque structure of the consulary structure, as sequences of films that marked the hisorty of Italian cineman were projected on its external façade. 

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