For the sixth straight year, Parsippany-Troy Hills welcomed members of Italy's Polizia di Stato to Town Hall with certificates and dual-cheek kisses at a Monday afternoon commemoration of Columbus Day.
Representatives of the Italian national state police are in New Jersey as guests of the East Hanover Italian American Club for an annual visit that has taken place since 2003. Parsippany became part of the group's itinerary in 2007. Their tour includes appearances in the East Hanover and New York City Columbus Day parades.
In remarks before the audience, Mayor James Barberio noted that his own family comes from Salerno, Italy, and that he takes great pride in his Italian heritage.
"Every year, when you come here, it is like visiting with members of my own family," the mayor told the visiting law enforcement professionals.
The sentiment seems mutual.
"We love to come [to Parsippany and East Hanover] because we know we are among friends," said Gen. Sergio Tinti, as translated by Council Vice President Vincenzo (Vincent) Ferrara, an Italian native. "When we come here, it feels like home."
The Italian contingent will also be honored at the mayor's invitation-only political fundraising Columbus Day dinner at the Sheraton Parsippany Monday night.