Consulate of Italy in Detroit Hosts Italian National Day Celebration

Jun 06, 2023 1843

BY: Sandra Tornberg

On June 2, 2023 the Consulate of Italy in Detroit hosted a celebration to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the Republic of Italy.  Consul Allegra Baistrocchi and her staff welcomed almost 500 invited guests to The Eastern, in Detroit’s Historic Eastern Market, an homage to the rich Italian immigrant community of centuries past, with a wink to the industrial heritage of Detroit. 

Highlight of the evening was the moment when Consul Baistrocchi proudly – and unexpectedly - received a proclamation by the City of Detroit, “that the 2nd of June will forever be known as ‘Italian National Day’.  JJ Velez presented the proclamation on behalf of Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit City Council.   

In accordance with tradition, Consul Baistrocchi recognized three members of the Italian community for their outstanding contributions by awarding them each a “knighthood”.  Pierette Domenica Burzio Simpson was recognized as Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia for contribution to literature and film in retelling her testimony of the Andrea Doria shipwreck. Massimo Risi and Gianluca Di Stefano were each recognized as Maestro of the Stella al Merito del Lavoro for their distinction and dedication in their applied field, respectively automotive and IT.

In her speech, Consul Baistrocchi announced that the Consulate of Italy in Detroit and the Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan, in partnership with the City of Detroit and other key public and private partners, will present once again LoveITDetroit from September 1 through 30, at 1001 Woodward Avenue. Design Core Director, Kiana Wenzell, briefly touched upon the importance of their collaboration with the Consulate of Italy noting that the LoveITDetroit installation will be the location for the launch party of the Detroit Month of Design initiative on September 1st.  

The guests were invited to adjourn next door to Wasserman Projects, a contemporary art gallery founded by philanthropist Gary Wasserman that hosts exhibitions by local and international artists, for a small exhibition by Italian Artist Paolo Nicolai.  In addition to viewing the exhibit, they were surprised with a performance by the Detroit Opera Resident Artists.  World-renowned soprano and Associate Artistic Director Christine Goerke and Nathalie Doucet, Head of Music and Resident Artist Program Director, oversee this important training program.  The audience heard selections of Puccini, Donizetti, Verdi and Rossini by sopranos Melanie Spector and Elizabeth Polese, mezzo-soprano Gabrielle Barkidjija, tenor Leo Williams, and baritone Ben Reisinger, all accompanied by pianist John Etsell.

The juxtaposition between traditional and contemporary Italy did not stop there. Traditional Opera was contraposed to DJ Rock City (of Movement festival fame) with his Italian Disco Music set. Ferraris and Dallaras where countered by vintage FIATs and Alfa Romeos. The TV screens showed videos of the BeIT Campaign and of RomeExpo2030, all accompanied by sweet and savory offerings from generous sponsors including Bacco Ristorante, Bigalora, Café Cortina, Cantoro, Casa Per Noi, Grey Ghost, Josef’s Bakery, Nino Salvaggio, She Wolf, and Vince & Joe’s. 

The Consulate of Italy in Detroit is grateful to the many sponsors, including DTE Energy, Prysmian, Brembo, Comerica Bank, Dallara, Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan, Schlossberg Legal, Cauley Ferrari of Detroit, Killer Creations, and Precision Print& Label, who made this year’s celebration memorable. Consul Baistrocchi and her staff are thankful for the many guests that celebrated this important date and – once again – to the City of Detroit and Mayor Duggan for the Proclamation of June 2nd as “Italian National Day” in perpetuity.

#festadellarepubblica #italyindetroit @loveitdetroit @italyindetroit

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