The Italian Community Center (ICC) of Milwaukee is an ethnic organization that was founded in 1978 to celebrate the heritage and culture of Wisconsin’s Italian American community. The ICC strides to promote ethnic understanding and racial equality and has been a catalyst for the renewal and rebirth of Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. One does not need to be Italian to be a member or participate in the ICC’s many year-round programs. Regardless of race, creed or religion, all are welcome to enjoy Italian traditions old and new. We hope you will visit us soon!
On February 28, 1978, representatives of three Italian American organizations – the Milwaukee Chapter of UNICO National, the Milwaukee Ladies of UNICO and the Pompeii Men’s Club – met to discuss ways to reunite the local Italian community. An idea was born to re-establish an Italian festival, but a different kind of festival – one where all the societies and organizations would work together. The product of that union was Festa Italiana.
The first Festa was held August 4, 5 and 6, 1978 at the Summerfest grounds. It was more successful than any of the organizers could have envisioned. The festival not only reunited the Italian community, but also attracted people from multiple ethnic backgrounds. Thirty-eight years later, Festa continues to feature the food, entertainment and cultural exhibits that highlight the Italian experience.
The ICC was established in the fall of 1978 when the Festa organizers purchased a small storefront office on Brady Street. Today, the ICC occupies a 60,000 square foot building at 631 E. Chicago Street. The building is situated right in the heart of the Historic Third Ward where many of the ICC’s current members and their ancestors were born and raised.
No matter what time of year, there is always something fun, educational or informative going on at the ICC, including Italian cooking classes, Italian language classes, opera classes, dances, dinners, theatre presentations, bocce leagues and exhibitions. With full banquet and catering facilities, the ICC also plays host to private and public events alike such as conferences, luncheons and weddings.
To learn more about the ICC and its many events, please visit: www.iccmilwaukee.com.