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Posted on: May 25, 2023

Celebrating Italy's culture and its Air Force centennial

Italian Air Force centennial logo

The Festa della Repubblica (festival of the republic) is Italy’s version of our Fourth of July. It’s the country’s national day, but until now, hasn’t been widely celebrated in Crestview. On June 10, two area cultural groups join the Crestview Cultural Services Division to correct that oversight.

The Crestview History Museum at the historic Bush House will host representatives of the Italian Air Force contingent at Eglin Air Force Base, their Stars and Tricolore support organization, and members of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America Crestview lodge.

 These groups will set up Italian cultural displays and offer a selection of homemade Italian foods to sample. Included in exhibit materials will be a tribute to the Italian Air Force, which celebrates its centennial this year.

“Italy was the first nation to formalize an air force within its military,” Col. Daniele Mastroberti, commander of the IAF’s Eglin contingent, said proudly. Though officially created in March 1923, the Italian army had an aviation arm as early as 1888, when it began operating surveillance balloons.

“We are very happy to share our Italian culture with our friends in Crestview,” Nunzia Scialpi, Col. Mastroberti’s wife and president of Stars and Tricolore, said.

Shirley Milburne, president of the Crestview Sons and Daughters of Italy, said members of her lodge were eager to help produce the museum’s event “in any way we can,” and were looking forward to working with Stars and Tricolore to showcase their Italian heritage.

The celebration will occur during the Crestview History Museum’s monthly Second Saturday opening, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, June 10, at the historic Bush House, 198 S. Wilson St. Admission and cuisine samples are free. For information, call Cultural Services at 850.398.5459.


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