With a turnout of 15,000 people at last year’s inaugural festival; Little Italy by the Sea was an even greater success in 2017.
For two days, the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour transformed into multiple Italian Piazza’s, reminiscent of colourful and vibrant seaside cities and towns throughout the Adriatic and Mediterranean coastlines.
Coordinated by Nella Fitzgerald, in conjunction with The Blessing of the Fleet, the festival harkens back to the Italian migrants who shaped a great deal of what Fremantle is today. “I love and respect my Italian heritage” Fitzgerald says, “I never want our senior Italians — who came here and gave us such a great life, to be forgotten. [The festival] celebrates their stories.”
Over two days, Ferrari’s and Alpha Romeo’s lined streets, Aperol Spritz was passed around from the venetian pop-up bar, and live bands played vintage and modern cultural anthems, like ‘Mambo Italiano’ will carry through the harbour streets.
Each piazza was themed to several regions in Italy and featured three days of Italian music; spanning from Sophia Lauren’s era in the 50’s and 60’s, to modern jazz, funk, and pop of today. Piazza Italia opposite the Shipwreck Museum acted as the main square of the festival, with a beer garden, an outdoor bar selling apertivi and antipasto opposite the harbour. The other two piazzas, Molfetta and Capo D’orlando wiere be situated out the front of the Ship Wreck Museum on Cliff St.
“I also wanted to reconnect the youth with their heritage, their food, and everything else we’re presenting,” said Nella, nodding to the century old, traditional tarantella and pizzica dances that will be performed at different locations throughout the festival.
Premiering the opening night, the Fashion Gala was presented at the Western Australian Maritime Museum and showcased Italian-Australian fashion designers, along with the 70th anniversary exhibition celebrating the iconic Ferrari. Presented by The Ferrari Club Australia, Festival goers were allowed to get up close and take a seat inside the classic cars.
Fireworks sent off a bustling weekend of Italian Culture and Fremantle history, while The Blessing of the Fleet parade travelled through the streets. In its 69th year, the parade is a tradition that post war immigrants of Molfetta, Italy brought with them which commemorates the wounded Crusaders of the Holy War.