The Knights of Saint Francis have guarded the Porziuncola Nuova Chapel at the National Shrine of Saint Francis for over ten years. The rector, John La Riva recently closed the little chapel, for no apparent reason, and as a result it is no longer open to members of the public. The Knights of Saint Francis request that the Archbishop direct the rect...

Beyond the throngs of tourists and kitschy Italian restaurants hides the real North Beach, a bastion of hidden alleyways and Beat-laced history. Whether you're sipping a stiff cocktail or searching for a just-right book of poetry, keep your eyes—and your mind—wide open when exploring this richly cultured neighborhood. North Beach has been hit espec...

A visit to San Francisco’s Consulate General of Italy typically begins with talk of not dinner but dessert — specifically, zabiaone. That’s because the friendly Labrador that belongs to Consul General Lorenzo Ortona and his wife, the journalist Sheila Pierce Ortona, is named for the dessert of the same deep golden color. They call her Zaba for shor...

If there is a story that all Italian Americans and all Italians living in Italy should know, it is the story of Amadeo P. Giannini: he realized the American dream, not only for himself, but for an entire society. There are so many reasons why, today more than ever, the story of his life tells the best part of the Italian DNA, whether you live in It...

The month of March has brought us Spring, and the 100th birthday of a legend, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, celebrated poet and San Francisco’s first Poet Laureate. He is also a painter, social activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers located in San Francisco’s North Beach district.  On the occasion of this historic month, L’It...

Two things Lawrence Ferlinghetti has done in abundance — besides writing poetry — is paint and pose for pictures. And there are enough of each to fill a gallery. To that end, in honor of the North Beach bard’s 100th birthday on March 24, Rena Bransten Gallery is showing the paintings of Ferlinghetti, and Canessa Gallery is showing pictures of Ferli...

Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s hand-painted sign, taped to the window of his office at City Lights, overlooking Columbus Avenue, reads: “OPEN DOOR.” That all-inclusive ethos, which has guided the San Francisco bookstore since Ferlinghetti co-founded it in 1953, will be fully evident when the shop hosts an open house on March 24 to celebrate Ferlinghetti’s...

Much like other Little Italys in the U.S., San Francisco’s North Beach saw a decline of its  Italian population after the 1950s. Today, what points to the neighborhood’s Italian heritage is mostly the number of Italian restaurants and cafés, the signs in Italian, the green-white-red colors. Gentrification, a decline in immigration from Italy, and t...

For 83 years, October in San Francisco’s North Beach has begun with a festival celebrating the Blessed Mother. The Madonna del Lume festival, celebrating Mary’s protection of fishermen, was brought from Sicily to San Francisco and instituted in 1935. The festival first started in Porticello, Sicily, after some fishermen credited Our Lady for guidin...

Sunday, for the 150th time, a Queen Isabella and her court will march through the streets of the city’s Little Italy section, North Beach, for an Italian Heritage and Pride parade. There’s a lot to be prideful about. North Beach is the oldest section of the city, with the largest concentration of authentic Italian restaurants, including old-time in...