Great Architecture tends to inspire admiration reverence, humility, awe, and other such solemn emotions. But rarely does it fill its beholder with feelings of happiness, joy, warmth, and love. The Piazza d’Italia is one of those exceptions. The Piazza and its centerpiece, St.Joseph’s Foundation, form an ensemble of unqualified pleasure and delight, the perfect expression of the gloria di vita that is characteristically Italian as the vocabulary of form and colors that make this such a deeply evocative place.
The story of the Piazza’s conception, planning, and execution is an inspiring one: a happy conjuction of architects and clients that was enriched by a sympathetic intersection of tastes and fantasies, a surprising sharing of values and dreams. It was originally conceived by several members of New Orleans; considerable Italian community. The vibrant cultural mix of New Orleans has owed a great deal to its Italians, though their contributions has never been widely recognized as those of the French, Spanish, or African Americans. To remedy that situation, it was decided that a new symbolic focus – part gathering and part memorial – was needed by the Italian community.
At about the same time, New Orleans was becoming increasingly concerned about the startling demolition rate of buildings in the central business district. To counteract that trend and to provide a sign of revitilization, the city decided to develop a block it owned in that area. That created the perfect opportunity to give the Italian citizenry its longed for monument.
The Piazza d’Italia is adjacent to the American Italian Cultural Center. To book an event at the Piazza d’Italia, please contact Lowes Hotel at (504) 595-3300.
The Piazza d’Italia is currently closed for renovations with an anticipated reopening in February 2018.