NIAF Official Delegation To Meet In Calabria And Rome, Italy


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

*Mission to Italy to Build Cultural Bridges*

(Washington, D.C. – MAY 29, 2013)
The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) leadership, including its Chairman, Joseph V. Del Raso, President John M. Viola, and executive committee, will travel to Italy June 6-12, 2013. The Foundation’s Mission to Italy will bring together board members, business leaders and local government officials to discuss key issues influencing cultural, economic and diplomatic relations between our two nations in both the region of Calabria and in Rome. NIAF also will hold its international board of directors meeting in Calabria, NIAF’s 2012-2013 Region of Honor, on June 8, 2013.

“In the spirit of friendship and solidifying lasting relationships with business and political leaders in Italy, we hope to strengthen NIAF’s role as the bridge between the United States and Italy during this official mission to the Region of Calabria and the city of Rome,” Del Raso said.

The 7-day itinerary begins on Thursday, June 6, 2013, in the city of Villa S. Giovanni in Calabria for three days, and concludes on June 12, 2013, in Rome.

While in Calabria, the NIAF delegation will meet mayors from the cities of Villa San Giovanni, Taverna and Catanzaro, the capital of the Calabria region. They will tour the Museo Civico (city museum) in the Palazzo San Domenico in Taverna, and the Norman Castle and Cathedral, the largest religious building in Catanzaro. In Reggio Calabria, there will be a private viewing of the famed Greek bronzes – Bronzi di Riace, part of the permanent collection in the Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia.

After the NIAF board meeting, the delegation and local Italian dignitaries will meet the participants of the 2013 Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery Program, now in its thirteenth year. Twenty university students of Italian heritage are participating in this year’s program dedicated to strengthening their understanding of their rich cultural heritage, introducing them to their ancestral homeland and the many contributions Italy is making to the world.

During the Mission, the NIAF delegation will travel to Rome on June 9, 2013. While in the “Eternal City,” visits to the Palazzo Quirinale, the Residence of the President of the Republic, and the Caserma dei Corazzieri, the elite Italian military unit of the Carabinieri and the honor guard of the President of the Italian Republic, are part of the itinerary. NIAF leaders will visit Palazzo Madama, the Senate of the Republic. A meeting with the President of the Senate Pietro Grasso also is scheduled.

On June 11, 2013, the Foundation’s leadership will attend a conference “Association & Italians in the World: Relationships and Perspectives” at the Camera dei Deputati. Later in the afternoon, NIAF President John M. Viola will be the keynote speaker at the conference “Italy-U.S. Relations in a Global Economy” to be held at the American University of Rome. The following day, they will tour the Vatican Gardens. The final day of the NIAF Mission to Italy concludes with a Papal Audience with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square, followed by a meeting with Giovanna Melandri, president of the MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, and a tour of the contemporary arts museum.

For information about the conference and events, contact Carlo Piccolo at 349-774-1791 or

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit