“ Not who starts, but who perseveres.” The Italian Consul General in Los Angeles, Antonio Verde, recalls the motto of the Amerigo Vespucci tall ship...
The Bay Area is pleased to welcome Lorenzo Ortona as the new San Francisco Consul General of Italy. Although headquartered in San Francisco, the Italian Consulate serves Northern and Central California, and a territory that extends from Hawaii to Alaska and Washington State.
Consul General Ortona graduated with a law degree from “La Sapienza University” of Rome, Italy. He joined the Italian Foreign Service in 2002 and his first assignment was at the OSCE Office and, later, Russia and the countries of the former USSR Desk of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2003 to 2004, he worked as Deputy Head of the Secretariat of the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs responsible for Europe. From 2004 to 2006, he served at the Crisis Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dealing with Italian nationals in crisis situations throughout the world, ranging from the 2004 Tsunami of December 2004 to abductions and evacuations of nationals globally.
From 2006 to 2010, Mr. Ortona was assigned to the Permanent Mission of Italy to the European Union in Brussels as part of the foreign policy and common security in the EU Political and Security Committee (PSC). In 2010, he was assigned to the Embassy of Italy in Israel as Head of the Economic, Commercial and Scientific Department.
From December 2013 to September 2016, he acted as the Head of the Secretariat of the Directorate General for the European Union at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On September 19, 2016, Mr. Ortona took over the functions of Consul General of Italy in San Francisco. He is married to Sheila Hanson Pierce and has two children, Luca and Sofia. Mrs. Ortona, originally from New York, is a journalist.
Consul General Ortona recently shared his thoughts with L’Italo-Americano about his new post by saying, “I feel deeply honored to be able to represent Italy in San Francisco and in the Northwestern quadrant of the United States. “I feel the great complexity of the challenge that awaits me and the expectation placed in the San Francisco Consulate General as a reference point for the remarkable Italian and Italian-American community present here, a community that with its creativity, talent and hard work has made a decisive contribution to the creation and growth of this marvelous city, known and loved around the world. Today, the young fellow countrymen who come to the Bay Area and the U.S. Northwest continue to bring the best and the charm of our country.
“We are going through a critical moment in European and Italian history, and today, more than ever, we must engage in every effort to promote our country’s system. The culture, the economy and Italian technology continue to be admired all over the world – especially in the United States - but require major reforms in order to be at the forefront of attracting investment and creating jobs. In this part of the United States where innovation is an integral part of everyday life, you can certainly find the right answers to many obstacles by providing our ideas and capital to entrepreneurs needed to revive our country. My staff and that of the Consulate are committed, under the guidance of our Embassy in Washington, to create opportunities for our companies and start-ups, to attract investments to Italy, and to promote our language and our culture, which is so strong and rooted in this part of the United States. We shall do this in conjunction with the San Francisco Italian Cultural Institute”. Consul General Ortona shared how delighted he is to be in San Francisco and how much he has enjoyed getting acquainted with the Bay Area. He is looking forward to the month of October which is considered the Italian Heritage Month in San Francisco’s Italian-American community.
The Consul General participated in the recent Madonna del Lume Parade, the October 9th San Francisco Italian Heritage Parade, welcoming the members of the Associazione Nazionale Carabinieri participating in the Parade, and the Grand Ball.
Additionally, Consul General Ortona, in these first days, inaugurated the Anna Magnani Film Festival and the exhibition of the Italian contemporary artist Fiamma Montezemolo, and was the guest of honor at the 10th Anniversary of BAIA, Business Association of America Italy. Particularly touching for the Consul General was the recent tribute to Enzo Torresi, one of Italy’s main representatives of Silicon Valley. The Consul General noted how important Torresi’s contributions were in paving the way for Italian innovations, building a solid bridge between the United States and Italy.
Of particular importance, the Consul General has been supporting the ongoing work to assist Italy with recent earthquake relief efforts, such as fundraisers held at various Italian restaurants and venues throughout the Bay area. He is moved by the Bay Area’s dedication to these efforts.
The connection between the United States and Italy is especially important to Consul General Ortona as his own Grandfather, Egidio Ortona, was an Italian diplomat who spent 25 years in different moments of his career in the United States. Egidio Ortona ended his career as Ambassador to Washington D.C. in 1975, in which he managed to strengthen the ties between Italy and the United States.
The Consul General shared that his grandfather “came over to America after WWII when there was not yet an Italian Embassy, with the goal of rebuilding the trust between the two countries. He loved America and he passed that on to me.”
What better way to embrace our new San Francisco Italian Consul General, Lorenzo Ortona, than to extend to him our warmest welcome throughout October during San Francisco’s Italian Heritage month.