Institute promotes Italian culture 

Amelia Antonucci is the director of the San Francisco Italian Cultural Institute. Founded in 1978 and backed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the local institution promotes and stages various Italian cultural events.

What are the main responsibilities of the Cultural Institute? We are here to promote the Italian culture, according to our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That can mean a number of things, from advocating local Italian design exhibits to promoting very important musical performances.

San Francisco is often referred to as a “European” city. As an Italian native, do you think that’s a fair assessment? Very much so. I come from Salerno, which is very similar to San Francisco because it has all the hills and, of course, the sea nearby. That’s why so many Italians are happy and comfortable here — it’s so similar.

How does the local Italian cuisine stack up against the real thing back in Italy? The San Francisco version is a little lighter. Mixing California’s style with the Italian cuisine makes it better, I think.

Is there a region in Italy where most San Francisco Italians can trace their roots? There are a lot of Tuscans and Genoese here in The City. There is a small town in Italy called Lucca where many San Franciscan families are from.

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Will Reisman

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