Il Circolo was established in 1995 by a group of friends and eventually evolved into a charitable organization with the primary aim of funding worthy cultural activities and deserving students’ projects. Il Circolo raises its financial resources by organising regular events that promote Italian culture in the UK. In the span of 25 years, the charity has awarded over 200 scholarships, donated more than £500K, and sustained the Italian chair at Somerville College, Oxford for numerous years. The Italian Christmas Market, held at the Chelsea Old Town Hall in early December, is Il Circolo’s traditional and foremost fundraising event.
Some of the previously supported projects included research on neurodegenerative diseases led by Professor Maria Grazia Spillantini at Cambridge University, studies on autoimmune diseases by Professor Pitzalis at Queen Mary University in London, as well as a restoration project at the Italian Cultural Institute and a tutoring restoration project at the Italian Embassy.
What We Do
Il Circolo provides support yearly to several initiatives, including:
- Italy Made Me Awards, promoted by the Italian Embassy
- Fill (Festival of Italian Literature in London)
- A student at the Royal College of Music (Contribution to annual fees)
- A student at the Royal School of Ballet (Contribution to annual fees)
Among its regular activities Il Circolo has a Book Club to read and discuss international books, and an Art Club, to visit museums and exhibitions with an expert guide. Il Circolo organises at least two exclusive live events monthly for its membership, usually meetings with famous Italian writers, journalists, and artists. Il Circolo Giovani was recently added to focus on the under-35 members creating events that better fit their interests and style of life. Il Circolo Giovani was recently added to focus on the under-35 members creating events that better fit their interests and style of life. Il Circolo also supports ad hoc events like concerts, theatre shows and film premieres.
Since 2022 Il Circolo has been the main organiser of MatchPOiNT, a yearly literary competition for unpublished short stories in Italian under the high patronage of the Italian Consulate. The competition is part of Vivere All’Italiana, the integrated promotion events sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s foreign network; the awards ceremony is an integral part of the Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel mondo.
Il Circolo is a member of two of the leading Italian Associations in the UK: the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the UK and Confassociazioni UK, and is one of the patrons of the Design Museum.
Our 2023 Commitment
Il Circolo has decided to focus on Mental Health as its theme for the year 2023.
The past few years have been particularly challenging due to the pandemic, so Il Circolo has decided to support the pivotal mental health issue. The funds raised through events, donations, and subscriptions will be devoted to projects that aim to increase awareness of the issue.
As part of the project, Il Circolo will launch a competition for projects relating to mental health issues, the entries will be judged by a committee of experts. The winners will be awarded a financial contribution to develop their studies.
Mrs Maria Grazia Lambertini, wife of H.E. The Italian Ambassador
The Duchess of Somerset
Simona Spreafico – Chair
Etta De Benedetti Carnelli
Adriana Ornaghi Petrini