The Italian government officially opened its Western Massachusetts Consulate of Italy office in Springfield on Monday, taking advantage of an offer from Paul Picknelly, president and CEO of Monarch Enterprises, who donated class-A real-estate space and other resources on the 25th floor of Monarch Place.
Picknelly, named honorary consul of Italy for Western Mass., recognized the need for the consulate to be re-established in Springfield. Western Mass. residents with business or important personal matters to conduct with or in Italy have had to travel to the Consulate General of Italy in Boston for years, an especially difficult hardship during the pandemic. Trade, tourism, Italian passports, dual residency, birth and death certificates, and other important business has required residents to travel, often several times, back and forth to Boston.
“When a family is experiencing a significant issue like the need to secure a birth or death certificate, this distance and challenge can be overwhelming while waiting to bury a loved one or provide proof of birth and nationality for other business. Some of the stories I’ve heard have been heartbreaking. This is something that we had to correct,” Picknelly said. “I am so happy that we have been able to bring the two governments together to do this in Springfield for all the people of Western Massachusetts.”
Arnaldo Minuti, consul general of Italy from the Boston consulate, attended Monday’s official opening, representing the Italian government. He was joined by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, a first-generation son of Italian immigrants, and other mayors from throughout the region. Many members of the Italian-American community and business and civic leaders were also in attendance.