Comitato Tricolore Italiani nel Mondo will host its eighth annual Festa della Repubblica on May 28 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii in Chicago. The event celebrates the birth of the Italian republic, and it bears the distinction of being the only such celebration outside of Italy to feature a parade through the streets.
Festivities will begin with a Mass at the Shrine at 11 a.m. followed by a parade to Garibaldi Park for a wreath-laying ceremony with the Consulate General of Italy.
Participants will return to the Shrine for a street festival featuring Italian music, sandwiches for purchase and a vintage Italian auto show hosted by Gruppo Motori Italiani.
Deceased Italian soldier Vincenzo Morici will be honored at this year’s celebration.
Morici fought for Italy on the Russian front during World War II and was declared missing in action after correspondence ceased and he failed to return home. His widow immigrated to Chicago after the war, working at Hart Schaffner & Marx for 30 years in order to raise her family.
In 2013, his great-grandson Pier Franco Scaglione, a lieutenant with the Carabinieri, spent endless hours researching his great-grandfather’s fate, eventually determining where he was killed and laid to rest, and recovering some of his personal items.
Scaglione will participate in this year’s celebration in full Carabinieri uniform.
“We encourage every single Italian organization in the metropolitan area to join in this wonderful celebration,” event organizer Carlo Vaniglia says. “It’s a great way to show your pride in your heritage.”
Among the organizations expected to participate this year are COMITES Chicago; Associazione Regionale Siciliani in America; C.T.I.M.; Lucani nel Mondo; Associazione Regionale Campania; the Vespa Club of Chicago; and societies dedicated to Beato Giovanni Liccio di Caccamo, Santa Fara di Cinisi, San Biagio Platani, San Leoluca da Corleone, Santa Caterina, SS. Crocifisso di Ciminna, and San Giovanni Bosco-SS. Crocifisso di Ciminna.