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Sons of Italy® Opens Offices in Italy

WASHINGTON, February 24, 2003 - The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the largest and oldest national organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States, has opened offices in eight cities in Italy.

"The dedicated professionals in these offices will greatly assist the Sons of Italy® in conducting business, networking and strengthening its cultural and commercial ties with Italy," said OSIA National Executive Director Philip R. Piccigallo, Ph.D.

The OSIA offices are in Rome, Milan, Florence, Venice, Perugia, Pescara, Ancona and Arezzo, cities in northern and central Italy. OSIA also plans offices in southern Italy, says OSIA National President Robert A. Messa. "Expansion of our substantive relations with Italy is foremost on OSIA's national agenda," Messa said.

All OSIA outreach in Italy will be coordinated through OSIA's Rome representative, Luigi Giuliano, Esq., at: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, #154, 00186 Rome (Tel.: 011 39 06 68 33 86). He and the other OSIA representatives in Italy will take direction from Messa, Piccigallo and the OSIA National Office in Washington, D.C.

This is the first time in OSIA's 98-year history that it will have official representation in Italy. The landmark initiative was launched during Piccigallo's recent official visit to Italy Feb. 9-15, the second in four months. Accompanying him was international businessman Vincenzo Marra, OSIA's ambassador to Italy, who was a major force in coordinating the initiative.

During his visit, Piccigallo met with Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and members of Italy's Council of Ministers and Cabinet, including: Valentino Valentini of the President's office; Carlo Giovanardi, minister for parliamentary relations; Pier Ferdinando Casini, president of the Chamber of Deputies; Sen. Renato Schifani, leader of Berlusconi's Forza Italia political party; Paolo Bonaiuti, spokesman for the Council of Ministers and Sen. Vittorio Pessina of Bergamo.

Piccigallo extended an official OSIA message of gratitude and pride for Italy's strong alliance with the United States in the war against globa terrorism.

The OSIA executive also met with Gabriele Albertini, mayor of Milan, and Giovanni Marra, president of the Municipal Council of Milan, as well as with the regional leaders of Lombardy and Tuscany and municipal and business leaders from Venice, Perugia, Pescara and Arezzo, among others.

Established in 1905, OSIA has more than 600,000 members and supporters and a network of 745 chapters coast to coast. OSIA works at the communit national and international level to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million Italian Americans, the nation's fifth largest ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To learn more, visit OSIA on the Web at www.osia.org.