By Barbara Ann Zippi
Appointed to the post of Consul General of Italy in Philadelphia in late 2013, Andrea Canepari has made a major impact in a short time. Bringing his family with him, he believes Philadelphia is one of the most European cities in the United States and he wants to spread the message to Italians in Italy and Italian Americans in this region.
Three years ago Canepari established Ciao Philadelphia, which celebrates October as Italian Cultural Month in Philadelphia. Area civic, academic, cultural and business leaders teamed up for October Italian events, which extended beyond Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, South Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.
Major highlights are the tours uniquely created for Ciao Philadelphia. From the historical tours at Independence Hall and Union League to the cultural tours at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Ciao Philadelphia highlights the international nature of the region established through the influence of its Italian and Italian-American community.
Being invited to share espresso with Canepari to hear his vision for this fall, he reached goals of over 70 activities associated with this movement. Many of these events are family-oriented and even free to participate.
Ciao Philadelphia has something to offer everyone. Daily events throughout October include opera, concerts, film screenings, food celebrations, exhibits, Italian racecars, performances and lectures.
One free, family-oriented event is Passyunk Passeggiata on Oct. 5 from 3 to 10 p.m., when people can experience the Italian influence strolling along East Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia. On Oct. 8, 15 and 22, The National Park Service presents Ciao 18th Century Philadelphia, giving a walking tour discussing the Italian influences of the City of Philadelphia and many of its famous residents. The walking tours begin at 1 p.m. in Franklin Court Courtyard.
Oct. 23 is Eddie Lang Day in Philadelphia including the dedication of the new Wall by Mural Art Program at noon in the Municipal Lot at Seventh and Fitzwater streets. A guitar virtuoso during the Jazz Age of the 1920s, Lang’s unique styling changed the direction of music and influenced musicians decades after his death in 1933. Born as Salvatore Massaro, an Italian-American immigrant, and raised in South Philadelphia, Lang was heavily in demand as a session player and can be heard on hundreds of recordings, most notably with Bing Crosby, Bessie Smith and others.
Free movie events include: Cinema Italian Style on Oct. 5 and 19 at University of Pennsylvania Fisher-Bennett Hall, Walnut Street in Philadelphia and Wednesday evenings in October Italian Film Series held at Freedom Hall Theater, Widener University in Chester, Pa. Free Movie and Food Tasting takes place Oct. 26 at Hood College, Frederick, Md.
An Art, Architecture and History Tour at the Union League on Oct. 8 focuses on the Italian influence and inspiration on the paintings, architecture, and sculptures on display.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art offers free admission after 1 p.m. on Fridays in October. The museum is collaborating with Ciao Philadelphia 2016 to offer tours of the Italian Art Collection.
Ciao Philadelphia enjoys month-long partner discount tickets at the Franklin Institute and on Oct. 8, with a $12 admission at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum on Norwich Drive in Philadelphia, experience Demo Day Targa Florio, cars from the museum’s collection in a themed presentation and demonstration run.