With the Volvo Ocean Race and Newport-Bermuda Race in the books, Newport has already had a busy summer of international sailing competitions.

This weekend’s 420 World Championships hosted by Sail Newport promises yet another layer of international allure. Among the teams representing Italy this year will be two sailors from Newport’s Sister City of Imperia: Elena Oddone and Francesca Riano. 

Ranked 6th in Italy’s 420 circuit, the duo earned their tickets to the highly competitive world championships earlier this spring. Joining them will be their coach, Agostino Amoretti. 

To celebrate their arrival – and their ties to Newport’s sister city – Mayor Harry Winthrop and the Newport City Council is inviting the public to a special reception at the Newport Yacht Club, 110 Long Wharf, this Thursday, August 2nd from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m.

Light refreshments and cash bar will greet guests and the public is welcome to attend. 

Newport’s twinning with Imperia, Italy, began in September, 1978 when Alessandro Scajola, then mayor of Imperia, visited the United States. Later he wrote to Newport’s City Manager Paul Steinbrenner, “The friendliness shown me by the town of Newport moved me deeply–so much so that I sincerely wish to consolidate relations between Newport and Imperia and their respective citizens. To this aim I would (sic) a “Twinning” of towns and wonder whether you would take this into consideration?” Later that month, the City Manager, responded that the proposal had been well-received and that “City Council unanimously endorsed the concept…in anticipation that improved relations between our communities would be of benefit to our respective citizens as well as our countries.” Led by Mayor Robert McKenna, Newport pursued this relationship with a series of exchange visits and exploratory talks which resulted in our formal Twinning Agreement by the end of 1978.

Since that time, delegations from Newport have visited the City of Imperia, situated in Liguria on the Italian Riviera in northwest Italy, every other year in early September to celebrate Imperia’s Classic Sailing Yachts Event and delegations from Imperia have joined with the City of Newport and Festa Italiana in honoring Christopher Columbus in October. The two cities have enjoyed cultural and educational exchanges.

Both Newport and Imperia are cities with long and rich maritime histories. Both are picturesque towns who enjoy exquisite harbors, famous among sailing communities. In addition, Imperia is known for its fragrant olive oil and beautiful flowers.

The Sister City program was created by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. Sister City programs are established between cities that are similar in size, have common features (all of Newport’s Sister Cities are seaside towns) and an interest in developing cultural, historic and economic relationships. Sister Cities provide opportunities for citizens to learn about, experience and explore other cultures through long-term community partnerships. For centuries, cities throughout the world have established informal relationships based upon common cultural, economic or historic ties. The relationships provide a forum for the exchange of perspectives and ideas of culture, education, government and economic development.

Newport has five other sister cities – Shimoda, Japan,  Kinsale, Ireland, Ponta Delgada, the Azores, Skiathos, Greece and St. John, New Brunswick Canada.