Start Your Engines! – California Mille and More!

The Mille will cross the Golden Gate Bridge and head north toward Highway 1 passing through colorful Marin County. The California Mille website is at Photo by massimocampa

Have you noticed the San Francisco Bay Area is the perfect environment for La Dolce Vita?  

We have the sea, the climate, and the cuisine for living life Italian style. There are a multitude of events, exhibitions, conferences, and presentations representing Italian culture all year long.

So how do you keep track of a year’s worth of celebrations? L’Italo-Americano has done the work for you. Below is a sampling of local happenings offering every type of activity, the ideal way to experience the exuberant Bay Area Italian lifestyle. Pay it forward by inviting friends to join you. Immerse. Experience. Enjoy. Buon divertimento!

North Beach Festival. Photograph by Catherine Accardi

Let’s begin with a free car show on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at the top of San Francisco’s historic and swanky Nob Hill. The event will mark the beginning of the 27th annual California Mille  tour of Northern California April 24 - 27 in celebration of the historic Italian race.  

Some 70 vintage vehicles that could have qualified for the Mille Miglia, Italy’s most-famous open-road race, will motor to San Francisco’s Nob Hill. The public is invited to see the cars and meet the drivers  between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

At 1:30 on Sunday afternoon, California Mille co-directors David and Howard Swig will greet the fans and introduce Italian Consul General Lorenzo Ortona. The Consul General will recall the history of the Mille Miglia that ran from 1927 to 1957, and thank San Franciscans and the California Mille for offering financial relief to victims of recent earthquakes in Italy.

At 8:30 a.m. on Monday, April 24, Consul General Ortona will waive the Italian flag outside the departure arch at Mason and California Streets, officially starting the four-day, one thousand mile tour (not a race) of northern California time capsule towns and little-known backroads.

The Mille will cross the Golden Gate Bridge and head north toward Highway 1 passing through colorful Marin County. The California Mille website is at

The San Francisco Italian Cultural Institute (ICI) offers a wide array of ongoing events at the Institutes’ location, 601 Van Ness Avenue, Suite F, San Francisco. On May 11, the Leonardo da Vinci Society, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute, will hold the second of a cycle of conferences celebrating Italian scientists who have made unique and stellar contributions to the world at large and have left their imprint in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit or, for more information.

If you would like to run on the streets of San Francisco, mark your calendars for America’s fourth oldest foot race, dating from 1919, the historic annual Statuto Race on Sunday, June 4.  

Proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area and the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club (SFIAC) Sports Program. For detailed information and registration, go to the SFIAC  website at

The SFIAC will also host the annual outdoor Festa Coloniale Italiana on Stockton Street in August. Check their website at for the exact date and more details.

It’s been 63 years that San Francisco’s traditionally Italian neighborhood has offered the North Beach Festival. And, although it has undergone a number of changes over the past six decades, it is still located in the center of what was San Francisco’s historic Little Italy on Grant and Columbus Avenues. The festival will happen again this year on Saturday June 17 and Sunday, June 18.  More information is available at,

The 37th annual Italian Family Festa will take place on August 26 and 27 in San Jose’s History Park. This annual favorite offers a weekend of fun, music, food, cultural activities and more. For more information, go to

A long-standing Bay Area favorite is the Marin Italian Film Festival presented, for the past 41 years, by Lido Cantarutti. This year’s film festival will take place on September 23, 24, 30, October 1, 7, 14, 28, and November 4.  L’Italo-Americano will cover this event and feature an interview with Commendatore Cantarutti in an upcoming issue. In the meantime, mark your calendars for what promises to be another extraordinary season. Check the Festival website at,, for a detailed listing of films and other event information.

The year continues into fall with the nation’s longest running Italian Heritage Parade (dating from 1868) when it takes to the streets of San Francisco on Sunday, October 8, 2017. This celebration brings with it a number of well-anticipated annual events including a crowd favorite, the Ferrari sports car display in Washington Square Park. Other events marking Italian heritage are the:

  • SFGiants Italian Heritage Night-Thursday, August 31, 2017

  • Madonna Del Lume Mass, Blessing of the Fleet, and Parade-Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1, 2017

  • Italian Consulate Reception–TBD

  • Grand Ball–Saturday, October 7, 2017

  • High Mass and Italian Heritage Parade–Sunday, October 8, 2017

  • Post-Parade Dinner–Sunday, October 8, 2017

More information on the above events will be available at

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