Casa Italiana: An Intergenerational Dream Preserved in Burien
19 Jun 2023
Casa Italiana re-opened in Burien in 2021, providing a permanent residence for an Italian Cultural Center– thus fulfilling a “100 year old dream.”
From the 1930s-1960s in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the first Casa Italiana served as a meeting place for Italian American immigrants living in Rainier Valley. Community members would gather, speak freely in Italian, and share food, faith, and traditions. Since the location’s closure, many within the Italian American community longed for a permanent place where Italian American immigrants and descendants could enjoy and share their culture. Upon the opening of the new Casa Italiana in Burien, that dream was realized.
Offering a central hub for Seattle’s Italian American community, Casa Italiana now protects the artistic, historic, linguistic, and culinary significance of Italian culture. An integral part of Burien’s broader community, Casa Italiana provides a place for family fun, delicious food, and most importantly, the preservation of a precious heritage.
Italian Culture in the Seattle Metropolitan Area; Protecting and Promoting a Unique Heritage
A large part of Casa Italiana’s mission is to pay homage to the Italian immigrants that first came to Seattle. From the 1880s to 1920s, Italian immigrants arrived in Seattle in large numbers, sharing their culture and helping build the city. According to Casa Italiana’s website, “They dug the sewers and paved the streets that became the foundation of the City of Seattle. They manufactured delicious Italian specialty food products and eventually provided the first Italian-American state governor in the United States of America… We are thankful to the Italian immigrants that came before us, filling our hearts and souls with the rich culture and customs of the Italian homeland.”
Casa Italiana honors their roots through language classes, food, and events. Throughout the year, visitors come to Casa Italiana for the authentic cafe cuisine, seasonal celebrations, and community meetings. Last November, for example, Casa Italiana hosted a chestnut roast, which is a time-honored Italian winter tradition. At the event, attendees gathered in the Italian market to enjoy the chestnut roasting, and learn traditional Pizzica dancing. During the May Conversation Group meeting, attendees met to practice their Italian, share opera singing, and exchange Italian recipes. By providing these events and services at their cultural center, Casa Italiana protects their unique culture and creates new ways for it to thrive.
Benvenuti a Casa Nostra: Visit Casa Italiana in Burien
Burien prides itself on being an inclusive, welcoming community, and the presence of Casa Italiana within the city helps build on these existing values. In an article with Burien Magazine, Therese Bianchi, board member of Casa Italiana, states that Casa Italiana is open to everyone. “We want everyone to know that our goal is to be welcoming and inclusive. This space is for anyone who is of Italian descent or interested in Italian culture. All are welcome.”
With organizations like Casa Italiana within the city, Burien residents are able to protect and enjoy cultural diversity. To read more about the community of Burien, click here.
Learn more about Casa Italiana below!
Location: 13028 First Ave. S. Burien WA 98168