Mayor Jamie Bova and the Newport City Council invite the public to join them at a reception on Friday, October 11th, from 5 – 6 p.m. at the Edward King House to welcome members of a delegation visiting from Newport’s Sister City of Imperia, Italy.
Light refreshments will be served, and all are invited to join Festa Italiana for a CineFesta! screening of “Marriage Italian Style,” starring Sofia Loren, immediately following the reception.
A total of eight delegates will be visiting Newport this year from October 10 – October 15 to celebrate Columbus Day and mark the end of Festa Italiana. Official representatives will include Giuseppe Fossati, Vice Mayor and Alderman for Public and Private Urban Planning; Gianmarco Oneglio, Alderman for Trade, Tourism, Industry Crafts, Fishing, and Agriculture; Simone Vassallo, Alderman for Major Events; and Biagio Parlatore, President of the Imperia Yacht Club.
In addition to taking part in the City’s annual Columbus Day Parade, the delegation is also scheduled to visit Innovate Newport, explore the Broadway Street Fair, and attend a concert hosted by Festa Italiana on Sunday evening.
A highlight of the trip will be a ceremony on Saturday to mark the twinning of the Newport Yacht Club and the Imperia Yacht Club.
The City’s twinning with Imperia, Italy, began in September, 1978, when Alessandro Scajola, then Mayor of Imperia, visited the United States. Later he wrote to Newport’s City Manager Paul Steinbrenner, “The friendliness shown me by the town of Newport moved me deeply–so much so that I sincerely wish to consolidate relations between Newport and Imperia and their respective citizens. To this aim I would (sic) a “Twinning” of towns and wonder whether you would take this into consideration?” Later that month, the City Manager responded that the proposal had been well-received and that “City Council unanimously endorsed the concept…in anticipation that improved relations between our communities would be of benefit to our respective citizens as well as our countries.” Led by Mayor Robert McKenna, Newport pursued this relationship with a series of exchange visits and exploratory talks which resulted in our formal Twinning Agreement by the end of 1978.
Since that time, delegations from Newport have visited the City of Imperia, situated in Liguria on the Italian Riviera in northwest Italy, every other year in early September to celebrate Imperia’s Classic Sailing Yachts Event, and delegations from Imperia have joined with the City of Newport and Festa Italiana in honoring Christopher Columbus in October. The two cities have enjoyed cultural and educational exchanges.
Both Newport and Imperia are cities with long and rich maritime histories. Both are picturesque towns who enjoy exquisite harbors, famous among sailing communities. Imperia has just completed a series of major projects which has developed its harbor and recreational facilities to world class status. Its new Naval Museum is a state-of-the art architectural and interactive institution. In addition, Imperia is known for its fragrant olive oil and beautiful flowers.
The Sister City program was created by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. Sister City programs are established between cities that are similar in size, have common features (all of Newport’s Sister Cities are seaside towns), and an interest in developing cultural, historic and economic relationships. Sister Cities provide opportunities for citizens to learn about, experience, and explore other cultures through long-term community partnerships. For centuries, cities throughout the world have established informal relationships based upon common cultural, economic, or historic ties. The relationships provide a forum for the exchange of perspectives and ideas of culture, education, government, and economic development.
Newport has five other sister cities – Shimoda, Japan; Kinsale, Ireland; Ponta Delgada, the Azores; Skiathos, Greece; and St. John, New Brunswick, Canada.