The Circolo Italiano di Wellington Inc. was founded in Wellington 1949. The original members were people from all walks of life, most of whom lived in Wellington or nearby. All the members spoke the Italian language and they founded the Circolo Italiano so that they could continue to practice their language skills and foster the Italian culture.
Many members were Italian women who joined because they were unable to become members of Club Garibaldi (the first female members were admitted to Club Garibaldi in 1992). Some of these women had married NZ servicemen who were stationed in Italy during World War II, and the Circolo Italiano gave both wife and husband friendship and fellowship with others who enjoyed the language and culture of Italy.
The Circolo Italiano became well-known in the Wellington area and for many years there was an Italian radio programme broadcast regularly with all information compiled by Cav. Laura Bargiacchi and Cav. Giovanni Mersi. They also hosted the programmes.
In 1988 it was decided that Italian Language classes be re-commenced and on the first enrolment night, 72 prospective students arrived!!! Initially Cav. Jack Ball and Cav. Giovanni Mersi tutored the students and for some years Cav. Jack Ball continued on his own.
In 1992 the Circolo Italiano began leasing the premises of Club Garibaldi and this was the beginning of a huge increase in the number of members, most of them interested in Language classes. Regular monthly social meetings gave the members the opportunity to enjoy presentations with an Italian "flavour" and learn more about the culture of Italy.
The Circolo Italiano di Wellington has a formal constitution and is administered by an elected Committee of unpaid volunteers.
Currently there are 135 members of Circolo Italiano, of whom 115 are attending language classes.