Bella Italia Market Brings Best of Italy to Casa Italiana - a unique Cultural Experience
It took a village to make the Bella Italia Market a huge success -- nearly 50 members of the community volunteered hundreds of hours of their time toward organizing and assisting at the event, held to benefit future heritage, educational and cultural programs sponsored by the Casa Italiana Sociocultural Center, Inc.
From an idea initiated and executed by local fashion designer Franca Bartoli to bring Italian excellence to our nation’s capital, and nurtured for nearly two years by a dedicated core group of volunteers, the market of Italian creativity became a reality this past weekend at Casa Italiana. A ribbon-cutting ceremony opened the Bella Italia Market with Fr. Ezio Marchetto making welcoming remarks. Domenico Bellantone, First Counselor for Consular and Social Affairs of the Italian Embassy, delivered brief remarks and inaugurated the Market by cutting the ribbon. Also present was Francesco Isgrò, president of the Casa Italiana Sociocultural Center, Inc., which sponsored the event.
The Market was made possible with the help of generous sponsors and donors, including Bethesda Travel Center LLC, La Moto of Washington DC, NIAF, the Lido Civic Club, the Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society, Cafe Milano, IULM University in Milan, IDI Group Cos., Marco Stilli, and Dario Zucchi.
A Fashion Show, organized by Franca Bartoli and sponsored by Bethesda Travel Center, featured upscale designs by Amina Rubinacci, Anna Gobbi, Melitta Paterni, and Franca Bartoli.
The nearly 40 vendors and exhibitors included Dolci Gelati, The Italian Store, several ceramics importers and designers, artists and jewelry designers, fashion house Amina Rubinacci, fragrance company Santa Maria Novella, and other purveyors of fine Italian products and services. La Moto of Washington DC brought several Vespas for display, including the famous Piaggio's Aprilia model.
Casa Italiana thanks all the volunteers who worked diligently for more than one year to ensure the success of the Bella Italia Market. Their hard work paid off -- more than 1,000 visitors attended the Market, creating an exuberant atmosphere in the halls of Casa Italiana, just as the organization prepares to enter a new phase of expansion and increased programs to help perpetuate the Italian culture, heritage and language in the Washington, DC area.