Memorial Day Scampagnata
Since 1970, the Italian Cemetery has hosted a Memorial Day Mass in the Italian language in the Chapel Mausoleum. For decades, this Mass was concelebrated by many Italian-speaking priests, with the chief celebrant being Father Efrem Trettel, the founder of Apostolato Radio Christiana. In 2009, the observance of Memorial Day was expanded into the Italian Cemetery’s Memorial Day Scampagnata, adding a complementary picnic lunch and musical entertainment. Today, the celebration is the most well-attended event of the year.
Il Giorno dei Morti Observance
November 2nd is observed in both Italy and the United States as Il giorno dei morti (the day of the dead). Though there are many religious and secular traditions attached to this day throughout Italy. At the Italian Cemetery we begin with a Mass in the Italian language where we remember those whom we have lost in the past year, and then break bread together—or more than likely, eat pasta together. Though not as colorful as other All Souls’ Day observances, the day provides us with an opportunity to see old friends again, and to remember those who have gone before us.
Italian Heritage Tours
Each month from April through September, the Italian Cemetery hosts walking tours of the grounds where we explore the lives of the pioneers of San Francisco’s Italian community. The ninety-minute tour is both educational and entertaining, and concludes with—what else—a complementary lunch.
Italian Language Group
Facilitated by Cav. Ilia Salomone-Smith, the Italian language group meets on Fridays during the Spring and Fall to improve on elementary language skills. The emphasis is on conversational Italian, and many of the participants have been attending for many years.
Italian Genealogy Workshop
For those struggling to find their Italian roots—both in the United States and in Italy—the Italian Cemetery hosts an Italian Genealogy Workshop. Though some research their family tree to accommodate becoming an Italian citizen, many attend just to discover the many undiscovered facts about their families history.