History of the Italian Cultural Society of Washington, D.C.
An Italian Society was already in existence in Washington by the second half of the 19th century. This is attested by a date chiseled on the fine marble bust of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the popular hero of the Italian Risorgimento, which is prominently displayed opposite the entrance of the old Supreme Court Chamber, in the U.S. Capitol building.
The bust is signed: Giuseppe Martegana, 1888. The official catalogue “Art in the United States Capitol” lists the bust as: Gift of members of the Italian Society of Washington, Citizens of Italian descent, 1888. Accepted by the Joint Committee on Library.
The present Italian Cultural Society of Washington was formed in 1953 when a group of Americans and Italians was organized under the leadership of Professor Salvatore J. Castiglione, Chairman of the Italian Department of Georgetown University.
In 1978, the word “Cultural” was added to the Italian Society of Washington to reflect its broad objectives, and the organization was chartered as a non-profit corporation in the District of Columbia. Since its formation, the Society has conferred honorary membership upon the Ambassador of Italy to the United States.