It’s the “amore” that makes the 34th annual Italian Week special, according to organizers.


From its humble beginning in which several dozen students gathered to read Dante and listen to traditional music, Italian Week has grown into one of Ottawa’s largest cultural celebrations.


“This year the biggest thing is the co-operation between all the associations, so we have Italian Week, the BIA, the Ferrari (festival) and St. Anthony’s church and they are all working together under the umbrella of Italian Week,” said festival vice president Tony Mariano.


The event kicked off yesterday, with the raising of the Italian flag at police headquarters and city hall, and runs through to June 15.


This weekend marks the religious aspect of the celebration, with the Feast of St. Anthony, and events focused around St. Anthony’s Church at the corner of Booth and Gladstone streets.

One of the early highlights of Italian Week is an orchestral concert of Italian Classical Music on Monday night.