ON THE SCENE | ITALIAN REPUBLIC DAY AT MERCY PLACE PARKVILLE
BY ROD CEBALLOS
Last Thursday the 02nd of June was an important day to Italians everywhere, including those who’ve lived in Australia most of their lives. This day is Italian Republic Day, or Festa della Repubblica, and commemorates the day in 1946 when Italians voted to abolish their monarchy.
The Italian born residents of Mercy Place in Parkville celebrated this occasion by immersing themselves in Italian culture, including music, crafts, and plenty of delicious pizza.
Every Thursday afternoon Mercy Place holds a social club activity for its residents, offering the chance to interact socially over food and drink. This year everything coincided to give the Italian residents a chance to honour their birth nation, and for other residents to experience and learn more about Italian culture.
Hosted by Sister Silvia Campo of the Sisters of Mercy, and organized by the Life Style team and its Coordinator, Priyanka Sharma, the event was quite a success.
Sebastiano Gervasi is one of the Italian born residents most eager to participate and share his love for Italy. It’s not an emotion expressed through words or precise recall, but rather something he projects in the twinkle of his eyes and by the strength he holds its flag to his heart.
Fueled by cultural pride and nostalgia, Sebastiano’s friends are equally keen to show their appreciation, toasting to the land which saw them sing their first songs and live their first loves.
Lina Tortoni has lived in Australia for 67 years. Having survived the course of World War II, Lina left Italy for Australia in 1949, just three years after the referendum made the Repubblica possible. She only had one child at the time, though nine more would follow once settled here. This, and the eventual birth of her grandchildren, would effectively tie her destiny to this great southern land.
Lina’s fellow resident, Flora Angelucci, also came to Australia a long time ago. These days she has a little less energy and some memories are less pristine, yet she fondly remembers Abruzzo, the region of Italy where she was born. To Flora there is no doubt that on Italian Republic Day, and on every other day, “Italy is number one!”
Celebrating Italy’s Festa della Repubblica is one of many activities that the team at Mercy Place Parkville creates for its residents, thus making their time in the aged care facility a pleasant and active one.
Rod is the Northsider’s photography editor, occasional photographer and random writer of bits and pieces. His number one fan is his ten year old daughter, who thinks being published in Internet equals being famous. To see more of this work click here.