The Italian Cultural Center is one part of Casa Italia located at the former Sacred Heart Seminary, west of Chicago. Their mission is the preservation and promotion of Italian-American culture in and around the city.
The Italian Cultural Center consists of several individual galleries. The Florence Bartolomei Rosselli Library, established by the seminary in 1935 contains over 8,000 volumes, a quarter of which are in Italian, 10,000 photographs, and more than 100 oral histories. The John Cadel Art Gallery exhibits art by Italian-American artists.
One gallery provides an overview of Italian-Americans in Chicago and two others exhibit respectively the history of immigrants from Calabria and Sicilia. The Scalabrini Museum is dedicated to the order founded by Bishop John Baptiste Scalabrini at the end of the 19th century.
A highlight of the Italian Cultural Center is the 1:100 scale model of St. Peter’s Basilica, hand carved by Atilio and Lucio Savoia. The Vatican Room has a Swiss Guard uniform on display.
On the grounds of the 17-acre former seminary are a walkway, along which are 14 reliefs illustrating the Stations of the Cross, and a marble “Holy Hill of Calvary.”
Know Before You Go
The cultural center is open 10:00 am-4:00 pm, Monday-Friday. Telephone the office to schedule a guided or self-guided tour; 708-345-5933.