Italy Nominates Mariangela Zappia as the next Italian Ambassador to Washington

The Italian Government has nominated Mariangela Zappia as the next Italian Ambassador to Washington. She would be the first woman to ever hold the position. The current Ambassador, Armando Varricchio, will be heading to Berlin, a key post for Italian diplomacy, as Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel will not seek a fifth term.

Zappia joined the Foreign Service in 1983, when she was appointed to the legal and political affairs offices before holding various positions at the Italian Embassy in Dakar and at the Consulate General in New York. She rose to the rank of Counsellor in 1993, and shortly thereafter rose to First Counsellor. She subsequently worked at the Italian Embassy in Brussels, the NATO media task-force during the conflict in Kosovo, and, in 2000, became head of the Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN in New York.

Zappia then took a three-year leave of absence to dedicate herself full time to her family. In 2007 she returned to work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome and was then appointed Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva. In 2011, she became head of the European Union Delegation to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva.

From 2014 to 2016 she served as Permanent Representative of Italy to NATO in Brussels, becoming the first woman to hold this position. She was appointed Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations in New York in 2018, where she remains currently.

Ambassador Zappia was born in Viadana, a municipality in the province of Mantua, in the Region of Lombardy. She graduated from the University of Florence in 1981 and holds a Master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations and a Post-graduate degree in Diplomatic and International Relations also from the University of Florence.

In 2018, Zappia was awarded the decoration of “Commendatore” (Commander) of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. In June 2019, she received the “Mela d’Oro” (Golden Apple), a recognition assigned by the “Fondazione Marisa Bellisario” to outstanding women in the fields of public institutions, management, science, economy, culture, media and sport.

Italian American Museum for Washington, DC Inaugurated (IAMDC)

Domenico Bellantone

Calling it an “an historic day for our Italian and Italian American community,” on December 15, 2020, CISC President Francesco Isgro, together with CISC Chair Fr. Ezio Marchetto, Italian Embassy First Counselor Domenico Bellantone, & donor Commendatore Robert Facchina cut the ribbon at the inauguration of the Italian American Museum of Washington DC (IAMDC). Due to covid-19 restrictions the event was limited to 10 people.

Italian Ambassador Armando Varricchio congratulated the CISC Museum Committee at a luncheon earlier at Villa Firenze and stressed the key role of people and culture in our Italy-US relations, as well as “the contributions that Italians and Italian Americans have made in the nation’s capital.”

Francesco Isgro
Robert Facchina

“So many historic events this year! But today is truly an historic day for our Italian and ItalianAmerican community. Thanks to the vision of Fr Ezio Marchetto, the generosity of Robert Facchina, and the hard work of our museum committee, we have built a museum that truly reflects the vast contributions that ItalianAmericans have made to our nation’s Capital. This museum is a reality today because of two years of volunteer work of our Board Member Elizabeth Di Gregorio and Parish Council member Anna Isgro, who served as co-curators. Thank you, Liz and Anna. And thanks also to our great museum designer David Fridberg. Thank you also to Tom Sweeney, Ciro DeFalco, Willy Meaux, the Marconi Project Team, for their work in recording the stories of members our community,” said Isgro.

“The Casa Italiana Sociocultural Center Inc., our nonprofit organization, was officially established in mid 2017 with the principal purpose of promoting and preserving programs and cultural activities for the ItalianAmerican Community in Washington DC. Within a year we were able to attract more than 100 Founders, financial donors, to support our mission. And most importantly we were fortunate to be the beneficiaries of Robert Facchina’s generosity, which helped us establish our museum — in record time! We have been fortunate to have a Board of Directors where every member has contributed and continues to contribute to the success of our organization,” added Isgro.

Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa purchasing iconic Butler Mansion for $3.3 million

The Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa is buying the property at 2633 Fleur Drive on contract for $3.3 million, according to Polk County real estate records. The transaction was recorded Dec. 28.

“We are really happy with where we are and now, where our future will be,” said Paolo Bartesaghi, president of organization. “We needed a bigger place. It’s still on the south side [of Des Moines]. … It’s a perfect location for us.”

Waterville mayor Nick Isgro draws criticism for proclamation of Oct. 14 as Columbus Day – 

“On Columbus Day,” the proclamation says, “we honor the skilled navigator and man of faith who President Benjamin Harrison described as a ‘pioneer of progress and enlightenment’ whose spirited voyage transformed the western hemisphere and inspired countless others to pursue their dreams and convictions in the face of seemingly insurmountable doubts and adversity. ”

Source: Waterville mayor draws criticism for proclamation of Oct. 14 as Columbus Day –

Italy’s PM on Trump: We get ‘America First’ policy but don’t expect us to agree

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni told CNBC on Wednesday that he respected U.S. President Donald Trump, but didn’t agree with his ideas on migration and climate change nor his protectionist stance on trade. Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Gentiloni discussed Trump’s much-criticized “America First” rhetoric. “I totally respect the fact that he was elected with the idea of putting America first, and he is trying to deliver in this direction,” Gentiloni said.

Source: Italy’s PM on Trump: We get ‘America First’ policy but don’t expect us to agree

‘Bribezoni’ is an attack on Italian-Americans, not Cuomo, says Castorina |

Assemblyman Ron Castorina said GOP leaders have attacked Italian-Americans in an attempt to bad mouth Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former aide Joseph Percoco outside the Manhattan Federal Courthouse Monday, where jury selection was underway for Percoco’s trial…….

Castorina (R-South Shore/Staten Island) said the imagery fails to attack the “alleged pay-to-play culture” and points the finger at Italian-Americans.

“The chairs, in attacking the Governor, acted in an insensitive and outrageous manner, misappropriating certain cultural markers and using them against an Italian-American Governor. “The hashtag ‘#CultureOfCorruption’ begs the question what culture? Italian-American culture?” Castorina said in statement.


Source: ‘Bribezoni’ is an attack on Italian-Americans, not Cuomo, says Castorina |

Mark Mazzetti del New York Times è il vincitore dell’Urbino Press Award 2016

Il giornalista del New York Times Mark Mazzetti è il vincitore, per il 2016, dell’Urbino Press Award, il premio italiano che ogni anno viene assegnato a un reporter o editorialista americano. L’annuncio ufficiale della vittoria verrà dato il 17 maggio dall’Ambasciatore d’Italia negli Stati Uniti Armando Varricchio nel corso di una cerimonia presso l’Ambasciata d’Italia a Washington. Come da tradizione, dopo l’annuncio a Washington il premio gli verrà consegnato nel corso di una cerimonia che si terrà nel corso dell’estate al Palazzo Ducale di Urbino.

mark-mazetti-2“La scelta di Mark Mazzetti come vincitore dell’Urbino Press Award 2016 testimonia il riconoscimento del valore dell’intraprendenza e del dinamismo giornalistico” ha commentato l’Ambasciatore d’Italia a Washington Armando Varricchio. “La partnership dell’Ambasciata con l’Urbino Press Award è il frutto di un’importante collaborazione che guarda al futuro del giornalismo e a come la politica estera viene raccontata al pubblico dei lettori, e Mazzetti si aggiunge quindi a una lista di importanti giornalisti americani che si sono anch’essi distinti nel campo dell’inchiesta giornalistica.”

Mark Mazzetti è corrispondente da Washington del The New York Times per il quale si occupa di sicurezza nazionale dal 2006. Prima di approdare al New York Times Mazzetti ha collaborato con il Los Angeles Times come staff writer, con U.S. News & World Report come corrispondente dal Pentagono e con The Economist come corrispondente da Washington DC. Un’indagine svolta nel 2009 con altri colleghi sull’intensificarsi delle violenze in Pakistan e Afghanistan e su come la politica americana ha reagito a tali violenze gli ha valso il Pulitzer Prize. Mark Mazzetti è autore del libro “The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth” pubblicato nel 2013.

“Quando oltre dieci anni fa, con Giovanni Lani, abbiamo ideato l’Urbino Press Award -dice Giacomo Guidi, fashion designer e co-fondatore del premio- abbiamo pensato, con il massimo sentimento filantropico, a un evento culturale che potesse creare qualcosa di utile per la città e il territorio. Credo che con il nostro impegno, e il contributo dei vari enti, si sia riusciti a costruire un vero ponte con gli Stati Uniti d’America. In questi anni i giornalisti premiati, firme d’eccellenza delle più prestigiose testate statunitensi, ci hanno portato una testimonianza straordinaria, raccontandoci i fatti di questo complicato decennio. Tutti ci hanno fatto capire che alla base del loro lavoro quotidiano, spesso in luoghi ad alto rischio, c’è l’imprescindibile impegno etico a informare il pubblico, con il massimo rispetto della verità. Questa è la grande lezione che i vincitori dell’Urbino Press Award, di edizione in edizione, hanno regalato alla città di Urbino.”

“Con grande convinzione -dice il sindaco di Urbino Maurizio Gambini- le istituzioni della città, con Urbino International Centre e il supporto della Regione Marche, hanno rinnovato il loro sostegno al premio destinato alla stampa statunitense, giunto all’undicesima edizione. Il fatto che il nome di Urbino sia abbinato a un’iniziativa culturale internazionale di così alto livello ci rende orgogliosi. L’Urbino Press Award è una grande occasione per tutto il territorio regionale. L’evento di Washington è una preziosissima opportunità per stringere contatti con i mezzi di informazione USA e i vari settori dell’economia nordamericana. L’appuntamento che poi segue, con la cerimonia di conferimento del premio nel Palazzo Ducale di Urbino, è sempre un passaggio emozionante, che ci consente di aprire lo sguardo sugli scenari internazionali della nostra epoca.”

L’Urbino Press Award, di cui è Presidente Giovanni Lani, annovera fra suoi precedenti vincitori Diane Rehm, Michael Weisskopf, Martha Raddatz, Thomas Friedman, David Ignatius, Helene Cooper, Sebastian Rotella, Wolf Blitzer, Maria Bartiromo e Gwenn Ifill. Il premio è reso possibile grazie al sostegno dell’Ambasciata d’Italia e dell’Istituto Italiano di Cultura Washington DC, dell’Istituto per il Commercio Estero (ICE), della casa di moda Piero Guidi, della Regione Marche, della Città di Urbino, dell’Urbino International Centre, e del Caseificio Val D’Apsa.

Sara’ l’Ambasciatore italiano negli Stati Uniti Armando Varricchio a dare l’annuncio ufficiale il 17 maggio presso l’Ambasciata d’Italia a Washington

Washington DC, 11 maggio 2016
Source: Italian Embassy, Washington
English version

Message from Italian Ambassador Armando Varricchio to the Italian Community

On March 2, 2016, Armando Varricchio, the new Italian Ambassador to the United States, presented his credentials to the President of the United States, Barack Obama.  He replaces Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, who is now Italy’s Permanent Representative to NATO.
Following the presentation of his credentials, Ambassador Varricchio issued the following message:  

armando-varricchio-01Upon taking the helm of the Italian Embassy in the United States, I wish to extend my most cordial greetings to my fellow Italians, to the elected representatives of Italy in the United States, to the community of Italian origin, and to those who recognize themselves – ideally and culturally – in Italy. It is thanks to you that today the long-standing bond between our Peoples is stronger than ever.

Italy and the US are friends – and allies. We are committed to promoting a future based on freedom, prosperity and peace. We work very closely on matters of international security, protecting human rights and gender equality, promoting economic growth, opening markets, safeguarding the environment and supporting the work of the United Nations. We stand side-by-side in areas of crisis, and are in constant touch both on a bilateral level and in multilateral fora, starting with the Atlantic Alliance.

This enduring alliance is enriched daily with culture, innovation, and high-tech. Our language is a powerful tool which promotes Italy’s unparalleled cultural heritage and also enhances our forward-looking Country’s natural propensity to creativity and inventiveness – in short, to the future.

I am honored to serve my country in the United States. Together with my colleagues and the entire consular network, I will spare no efforts to further strengthen our close ties. Above all, I know that my mission will be made all the easier with your invaluable support.armando-varricchio-02

Protecting our Heritage – a program by EUNIC Washington DC, proposed by the Italian rotating presidency of the network

I am a human, and nothing of that which is human is alien to me.”

This famous quotation by the Latin playwright Terence (2nd century BC) is often cited as the motto of Humanitas, an ideal based on the fulfillment of the best human potential and values, the pursuit of beauty, education, kindness and tolerance.

This concept, in its various forms, with the multiple challenges of history, crossed centuries and shaped civilizations everywhere on our planet.

Humanitas reminds us why cultural heritage, intended as the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes inherited from past generations, is never alien to us, and why protecting it is an imperative for all. This heritage is the testimony of the common path followed by human society to

achieve its self-fulfillment and it continues to be a source of identity, learning, and inspiration for present and future generations.

Nowadays, our common heritage is facing growing threats posed by wars, international terrorism, criminal organizations, climate challenges – or more simply, oblivion.

In order to increase awareness and build networks of institutions and experts working on this subject, the Washington cluster of the European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC), following a proposal by the Italian rotating presidency, has agreed to focus on the topic Protecting our Heritage as one of the main themes for its 2016 activities.

The program is implemented in partnership with a number of prominent institutions – including international organizations, universities, museums, foundations. The UNESCO and Delegation of the European Union to the United States of America support this important project.

We follow a positive and pragmatic approach, focusing not only on what the international community already does to protect human heritage, but also on what more is within our reach to do.

The program focuses on the following topics:

  • Archaeology as a practice of cultural identity: How can we work together to protect and re-discover cultural heritage of the past and to make it relevant for our present cultural identity?
  • Diplomacy in the service of art: How can we establish a set of rules and practices to improve the safeguard of cultural heritage and raise public awareness?
  • New instruments to protect cultural heritage: How can we use new technologies and new tools to track and protect cultural heritage?
  • National and International organizations devoted to the preservation of heritage: What are the roles and the missions of different actors?
  • Protecting cultural heritage during conflicts: What can be done in areas of conflict to save cultural heritage? How do we deal with destruction and how can we restore what has been damaged?
  • Commemorative initiatives: To honor the memory of the heroes who served cultural heritage, and of heritage that has been lost.
  • Protection of Intangible Heritage: Why is it important to protect heritage that we cannot touch? How do we achieve that? If you feel that your organization can join our program – if you feel that protecting our heritage is of great value – you are welcome to propose ideas for joint initiatives.

If you feel that your organization can join our program – if you feel that protecting our heritage is of great value – you are welcome to propose ideas for joint initiatives.

Learn more at:


EUNIC – European Union National Institutes for

Culture‘s mission is to promote European values and to

contribute to cultural diversity inside and outside of the

EU through collaboration between European cultural

institutes. EUNIC’s aim is to expand the role of culture

and to strengthen cultural dialogue, exchange and

sustainable cooperation worldwide.



International Business Entrepreneur and Cafe Milano’s Franco Nuschese to be honored at NIAF’s 40th Anniversary Gala

Franco Nuschese, president of Georgetown Entertainment Group LLC, and owner of Cafe Milano in Washington, D.C., will be honored at the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 40th Anniversary Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. Nuschese will receive the NIAF 40th Anniversary Award for Leadership and

Franco Nuschese

Franco Nuschese

Service on October 17, 2015, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park. The black-tie event begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception followed by dinner and an awards ceremony.

Honorees joining Nuschese include Amato L. Berardi, founder of Berardi & Associates Inc., and former member of the Italian Parliament; Richard E. Caruso, Ph.D., founder and director of Integra
LifeSciences; Connie Francis, Italian American music legend; Mario Gabelli, founder, chairman and CEO of GAMCO Investors Inc.; Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.; Steve Perillo, president and owner of Perillo Tours; and Alfred M. Rotondaro, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former NIAF executive director; and Josephine J. (Gargiulo) Templeton, M.D., trustee of the John Templeton Foundation.

Born in Minori on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, Nuschese began his professional career in marketing in London and Las Vegas. From 1983 to 1991, he managed restaurants for Caesars Palace and later opened two restaurants at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino. Nuschese arrived in Washington, D.C., in 1991 and was general manager for the Italian restaurant, Bice. A year later, Nuschese opened Cafe Milano, using his marketing background to propel the restaurant to top-ranked status. In addition to serving as president of Georgetown Entertainment Group LLC providing professional services focused on public relations, strategy, marketing and organization, Nuschese is president of Capital Wines LLC, a producer of fine Italian wines. One of his personal achievements was hosting a lunch for Pope Benedict XVI’s 81st birthday at the Vatican Embassy during the Pope’s visit to the nation’s capital.

Nuschese is active in organizations that support Italian culture in America. He serves on the boards of the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology; the Global Virus Network; the Georgetown University Italian Research Institute; and the Atlantic Council. He also contributes to Spanish Catholic Charities, and to events benefiting American military troops and veterans.

Besides NIAF’s distinguished honorees, celebrities and entertainment take center stage during NIAF Gala Weekend to celebrate a milestone in its history. As part of NIAF’s lineup of celebrities, actors Danny Aiello, Chazz Palminteri and Annabella Sciorra; singer and songwriter Giada Valenti; performer Tom Sinatra; The Washington Chorus; The Sicilian Tenors, Aaron Caruso, Elio Scaccio and Sam Vitale, will join Il Volo’s Piero Barone and Ignazio Boscetto, and Gianluca Ginoble, as part of the weekend performances.

NIAF Board Member and Emmy Award-winning Fox News Anchor and Global Markets Editor Maria Bartiromo and SNL legend, NIAF Celebrity Ambassador, actor, entertainer and radio host Joe Piscopo will co-host one of the most popular galas in our nation’s capital. To open the weekend festivities on Friday evening, October 16, Piscopo and celebrity guests will celebrate Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday and honor the legacy of Sinatra with the crooner’s celebrated melodies from his songbook.

NIAF’s 40th Anniversary Weekend is presented by Alitalia, the airline that brings the best of Italy to the world. Tickets to Saturday’s Gala begin at $400 per person. Young professional tickets cost $200 per person available only by phone. Tickets to Friday evening’s celebration of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday cost $200 per person. Proceeds benefit NIAF’s educational programs. For tickets or sponsor information, contact Jerry Jones at 202-387-0600 or, or register online at


Joseph Sciame to Receive the Sons Of Italy 2015 Guglielmo Marconi Award

Congratulations to Joseph Sciame, a great Italian American who has been selected by the Sons of Italy to receive the 2015 Guglielmo Marconi Award.   Sciame is currently the Vice President for Community Relations at St. John’s University, the Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations, and a Trustee of the Sons of Italy Foundation.  He is the National Past President of the Sons of Italy, the Past President of the Sons of Italy Grand Lodge of New York, and the past Chair, National Association of Student Aid Administrators.

joseph_sciame-1Sciame has been a promoter and supporter of Italian American causes at the national and local level for almost 50 years. He has received more than 150 awards. The Republic of Italy has recognized his contributions by honoring with the rank of Cavaliere and then Ufficiale in the Order of Merit.  He was also invested as Commendatore by Prince Vittorio Emmanuele of the House of Savoy in the Order of Merit.  Sciame served as President of the American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit, an organization of Italian Americans, and Americans, who have been honored by the Republic of Italy.

The Guglielmo Marconi Award is the Sons of Italy’s highest honor and is named for the Nobel prize-winning Italian physicist who invented wireless telegraphy. It’s presented biennially to an Italian American who has made significant contributions to the United States. The award will be officially presented at the Marconi Gala on August 22, 2015, during the Sons of Italy’s 54th Biennial National Convention in Bonita Springs, Florida.