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Scene in D.C.: Alito for Italian Culture, Meridian Ball

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Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Mark Del Russo, COO of Audi of America, with his son, Anthony, 11. Father and son were on stage together when Del Russo received the achievement award in business at the National Italian American Foundation Gala on Saturday night. Del Russo said his son represented the next generation of Italian Americans.

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Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Mark Del Russo, COO of Audi of America, with his son, Anthony, 11. Father and son were on stage together when Del Russo received the achievement award in business at the National Italian American Foundation Gala on Saturday night. Del Russo said his son represented the next generation of Italian Americans. Close

Mark Del Russo, COO of Audi of America, with his son, Anthony, 11. Father and son were on stage together when Del... Read More

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Letizia Moratti, the former mayor of Milan, and the recipient of NIAF's special achievement award in philanthropy. Close

Letizia Moratti, the former mayor of Milan, and the recipient of NIAF's special achievement award in philanthropy.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc. chairman Ralph Izzo. Close

Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc. chairman Ralph Izzo.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Close

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Italy's minister of foreign affairs Giulio Ferzi di Sant'Agata and Fernando Napolitano, president of the Italian Business and Investment Initiative. Close

Italy's minister of foreign affairs Giulio Ferzi di Sant'Agata and Fernando Napolitano, president of the Italian... Read More

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, right, and his wife, Laura. Close

Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, right, and his wife, Laura.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

DLA Piper co-chairman of government affairs James Blanchard and Patrick Durkin, managing director for Barclays Capital at the 44th annual Meridian Ball. Close

DLA Piper co-chairman of government affairs James Blanchard and Patrick Durkin, managing director for Barclays... Read More

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

General Dynamics CEO Jay Johnson, right, dances with his wife, Sydney McNiff Johnson. Close

General Dynamics CEO Jay Johnson, right, dances with his wife, Sydney McNiff Johnson.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Panama Ambassador Mario Jaramillo dances with Leila Mol Beale. Close

Panama Ambassador Mario Jaramillo dances with Leila Mol Beale.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Theodore Austell, vice president of government operations for Boeing, right, and his wife, Renee. Close

Theodore Austell, vice president of government operations for Boeing, right, and his wife, Renee.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Rep. Joe Crowley, New York Democrat, and Lyndon Boozer, assistant vice president for federal affairs with AT & T. Close

Rep. Joe Crowley, New York Democrat, and Lyndon Boozer, assistant vice president for federal affairs with AT & T.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

American Continental Group managing partner David Metzner and his wife, Viktoria. Many of the guests wore fur to fight the early autumn chill. Close

American Continental Group managing partner David Metzner and his wife, Viktoria. Many of the guests wore fur to... Read More

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager and his wife, Christine. Close

Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager and his wife, Christine.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Christine Longo with the US Department of Homeland Security. The Meridian House's library was a cozy place for mingling. Close

Christine Longo with the US Department of Homeland Security. The Meridian House's library was a cozy place for mingling.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Guests descended on the Meridian House after dining at the residence of an ambassador. Dozens of desserts were on display in the elegantly decorated drawing room. Close

Guests descended on the Meridian House after dining at the residence of an ambassador. Dozens of desserts were on... Read More

Mark Del Rosso is passing along Italian-American traditions to his 11-year-old son, Anthony.

The art of enjoying “a proper cannoli” is one of them.

Anthony and his dad, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Audi of America Inc., were onstage at the Washington Hilton Saturday night when Del Rosso received the achievement award in business from the National Italian American Foundation.

The organization celebrated its 37th anniversary gala with a veal-and-pasta dinner for 1,500. Tiramisu and wines from Statti and Librandi added to the European flavor.

Italian Americans “embody the social sensitivity of Italy,” said Letizia Moratti, in red Odicini and diamonds.

The former mayor of Milan, the first woman to hold this office, received the NIAF’s special achievement award in philanthropy for her work as president of the Friends of San Patrignano, which rehabilitates substance abusers from all over the world.

“In the long term, I’m optimistic,” she said about the state of the European economy. She added that she wished more Italian businesses would develop corporate giving programs, or “social ventures,” as U.S. companies do.

Italy’s minister of foreign affairs, Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, lauded the inclusion of Italian-language education in U.S. schools, adding that exposure to Italian culture is a key ingredient of his foreign policy.

Ferrero Group

Ralph Izzo, the chairman of Public Service Enterprise Group, accepted NIAF’s award in science and technology. Giovanni Ferrero, the chief executive of the Ferrero Group, was honored for his role in international business. Ferrero SpA president Francesco Paolo Fulci, Italy’s former ambassador to the United Nations, accepted the award on his behalf.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito joined the honorees on stage for the program with Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, whose wife, Laura, in a nod to her homeland, wore Giorgio Armani, a former NIAF honoree.

Other guests included Salvatore Zizza, chairman of Metropolitan Paper Recycling, and Fernando Napolitano, founder and president of the Italian Business & Investment Initiative.

Meridian Ball

Friday night’s 44th annual Meridian Ball at the beaux-arts Meridian House created some unusual couplings.

Former Michigan Governor James Blanchard, now co-chairman of government affairs for DLA Piper U.S. LLP, laughed heartily with Patrick Durkin, managing director for Barclays Capital Inc.

Blanchard is a keen Obama guy, and Durkin is a top fundraiser for Romney.

They found common ground joking about the “Saturday Night Live” skits poking fun at undecided voters.

Panama Ambassador Mario Jaramillo danced with Leila Mol Beale, the wife of Barbados Ambassador John Beale.

The Meridian International Center fosters global dialogue through programs and initiatives with the government and private sector. The ball is the culmination of the annual Meridian Global Leadership Summit.

Before they congregated at the ball, guests attended small dinner parties at the home of an ambassador.

Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager said he served lamb with vegetables grown from his garden. He attended the ball with his wife, Christine.

General Dynamics Corp. (GD) Chief Executive Jay Johnson served as co-chairman of the summit and ball. He hit the dance floor with his wife, Sydney McNiff Johnson, clad in navy Monique Lhuillier.

Guests who weren’t nibbling desserts or dancing were relaxing in the courtyard where an early autumn chill called for luxurious layers.

Viktoria Metzner, the wife of American Continental Group managing partner David Metzner, wore a regal fur-trimmed beige wrap.

Other guests included Representative Joe Crowley, New York Democrat, Kendell Pease, vice president of government relations and communications for General Dynamics, and Theodore Austell, vice president of government operations for Boeing Co. (BA)

(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

Muse highlights include Jeremy Gerard on theater, Lili Rosboch on art.

To contact the writer on this story: Stephanie Green in Washington at sgreen57@bloomberg.net or on Twitter @stephlgreen.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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