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County of Santa Clara/Province of Florence*, Italy Sister County Commission

Published on: 3/30/2015 1:48 PM

italyMission Statement

The County of Santa Clara/Province of Florence*, Italy Sister County Commission is committed to fostering the exchange of art, commerce, culture, education, and technology in many diverse areas between the people and governments of the County of Santa Clara, U.S.A. and the Province of Florence, Italy.

The Commission was established by the Board of Supervisors on April 26, 1987, and is composed of 25 members, appointed by the Board of Supervisors, with a term of three years.

The Commission shall act in an advisory capacity in promoting, aiding and encouraging a diverse cultural, educational, and technological exchange with the Province of Florence, Italy. Persons appointed shall have previously demonstrated their interest or participation in matters pertaining to the relationship between Italy and the United States. For more information please contact (408) 299-5115 or email

This Sister County Commission meets the first Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at the Isaac Newton Senter Auditorium, located on the first floor of the County Government Center, at 70 West Hedding St. San Jose, CA.

The Commission’s Sub committees usually meet at 6:30 p.m. before every Workshop Meeting at the Isaac Newton Senter Auditorium, located on the first floor of the County Government Center, at 70 West Hedding St. San Jose, CA.


Numerous achievements reflect the Commission’s dedication to promoting and understanding of Italian culture and heritage:

  • The Commission continued to provide scholarship support toward the study abroad of university students from Santa Clara County accepted to study at an accredited university in Florence, Italy.
  • The Commission coordinated a one-time screening in Santa Clara County of film director Eduardo Ponti short films “Human Voice” and “The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars,” at Santa Clara University Recital Hall. A Q&A Session with the director followed the screenings.  
  • The Commission hosted a Dinner at Guglielmo Winery in October to Celebrate and acknowledge former Commissioner Duilio Peruzzi’s multiple contributions to the Commission and the Italian Community, by presenting him with the Citizen of the Year Medici Medallion and launching the Duilio Peruzzi Scholarship Fund.
  • The Commission, along with the County’s Moscow and Hsinchu Sister County Commissions, created the Youth Leadership Scholarship Fund, providing scholarships to nine local high school students so they could attend the Sister Cities International Annual Conference Youth Leadership Summit in San Jose, last July. 
  • The Commission co-sponsored a Summer Concert with Violinist Francesca De Pasquale at Santa Clara University last September.
2013 and prior
  • The Commission co-sponsored a one-time screening of La Cittá Ideale (The Ideal City), at Santa Clara University, on November 16, 2013. With this event, the Commission brought a taste of the New Italian Cinema Events (N.I.C.E) Festival held in San Francisco to Santa Clara County.  Nearly 200 Italian cinema lovers attended, including friends of the Commission, faculty and students from Santa Clara University.
  • Year 2012 marked a major milestone for the County of Santa Clara CA USA/ Province of Florence, Italy, Sister County Commission. On May 5, 2012, the Commission hosted the Medici Masked Ball at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, San Jose, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of its relationship with the Province of Florence.  Medici Medallion Citizens of the Year Joan and Richard Della Maggiore, Marilyn and Frank Dorsa, and Marge Valente were honored for their commitment and contributions as community leaders.  Over 400 friends of Florence and supporters attended the Commission's signature fundraising event.
  • The Commission hosted a "meet and greet" gathering for the new Consul General of Italy in San Francisco, Mauro Battocchi, after an official welcoming ceremony held by the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors.
  • The Commission hosted a formal Government delegation from the Province of Florence from May 4-9, 2012, led by Province of Florence President Andrea Barducci and Provincial Council President David Ermini to strengthen communication, cultural exchanges and collaborations with the Province through the implementation of Memoranda of Understanding signed between both regions.
  • The Commission participated in and co-sponsored the Italian American Heritage Foundation Family Festa, in San Jose, in August, 2012. Also, the Commission participated in the Italian Harvest Festa in Morgan Hill, in September, 2012.
  • Hosted a formal Government Delegation from the Province of Florence on October 16-21, 2010. Members of the delegation were Province of Florence President Andrea Barducci, Council President David Ermini, Council members Loretta Lazzeri, Laura Biagiotti, Salvatore Barillari, and Secretary to the President of the Province, Mauro Costi.
  • Hosted Cena alla Griglia Toscana, the 2010 Appreciation BBQ on September 23, 2010 at the Guglielmo Family Winery, in Morgan Hill, to celebrate past and present commissioners.
  • Successfully planned and executed the 2009 Medici Masked Ball, the Commission’s signature fundraising event at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, on May 16, 2009. The event was attended by nearly 500 supporters of the Commission and honored community leaders and George Chiala, Julie Riera Matsushima, Laura and Sam Liccardo, and Dianne and Nicholas Speno as Citizens of the Year.
  • Established and promoted the Florence Commission Da Vinci Educational Sponsorship Project and partnered with The Tech Museum of Innovation, area businesses and individual donors to make it possible for 3,540 students and chaperones to experience the Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibit. The exhibit was extended through January 25, 2009 due to popular demand and the unprecedented number of school field trip visits.
  • Provides annual scholarships toward the study abroad of university students from Santa Clara County accepted to study at accredited universities in Florence, Italy.
  • Delegations - Sponsors American governmental delegations to the Province of Florence, Italy and hosts Italian governmental delegations to highlight respective artistic, cultural and educational advancements, technological innovations and to explore partnership opportunities that strengthen the sister county relationship.
  • Sponsored and hosted the Florence Commission Annual Appreciation Barbecue at the Guglielmo Family Winery in Morgan Hill, to announce the six Medici Medallion Award Recipients.
  • Visited the Province of Florence and met with President Matteo Renzi and colleagues in May 2008, to share best practices and discuss mutual collaborations for the coming year.
  • Hosted a welcoming reception for the Consul General of Italy in San Francisco, Fabrizio Marcelli.
  • Hosted Province of Florence President Matteo Renzi and colleagues in February of 2007 and held a Joint Meeting to discuss mutual collaboration for the coming year.
  • Cultural Exchange - Partnered with Morgan Hill Sister City Committee to present “Pranza in the Vineyard” featuring Chef Angelo Mazzi from the Association of Florentine Chefs.
  • Currently working on a project to feature artists from Florence in musical programs in Santa Clara County.
  • Florence Commission Sister-County website renewed its relationship with Sister Cities International and is now a part of SCI website and annual directory. (Go to and click on the gold Sister County Commission box at the bottom right hand of the homepage.)
  • Advancing Cross Cultural Understanding - Supported and attended an International Transportation Planning Conference hosted by the Province of Florence, Italy.
  • Facilitates exchange programs between University of Florence and area universities and provides scholarship assistance to local students studying in Florence.
  • Acted as the liaison between European and American experts studying solid waste recycling, which led to Santa Clara County representation at an international recycling conference.
  • Represented the County of Santa Clara at the World Peace Conference held in the Province of Florence, Italy.
  • Supported and attended an International Transportation Planning Conference for the Province of Florence, Italy.
  • Approved and provided funding to support an Italian Language Program at Los Gatos High School.
  • Granted funds to assist Opera San Jose’s dedication to Italian opera and language.
  • Organized “A taste of Florence” cooking sessions featuring the art of “antique” cooking and preparation of Tuscan foods.
  • Promoted light rail transportation, jazz concerts and Santa Clara County wines during “Santa Clara Week” in Florence, Italy.
  • Bridged cultural heritage with “Florence-Santa Clara: Two Schools of Sculpture” exhibit at the Triton Museum of Art.
  • Presented the Quartetto di Fiesole, and Italian string quartet, to perform in a special concert for the San Jose Chamber Music Society.
  • Presented “The City of Brunelleschi” art exhibition at the Saisset Museum.
  • Coordinated the “Fencing Gala” by te Societá Accademia Schermistica Fiorentina at San Jose State University.
  • Restructured its Bylaws, Ordinance, Mission Statement and operating procedures.



Gates of Paradise

Contact Information:

County of Santa Clara/ Florence* Sister County Commission
Office of the County Executive
Attn: Office of Public Affairs
70 W. Hedding St.,
East Wing, 11th Floor
San Jose, CA 95110

PH: (408) 299-5115
FAX: (408) 295-2192


*The Province of Florence is being replaced by the Florence Metropolitan City.  The County is actively pursuing a relationship with the new organization.