Beginning in April 2020 and until further notice, Il Cenacolo speakers will be presented through the ZOOM app. Stay tuned for more information.


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Who We Are

Il Cenacolo is an organization that preserves, enhances and encourages all aspects of Italian arts, language and culture and recognizes the unique contribution of Italian heritage that is intertwined in the history and life of the San Francisco Bay Area.

What We Do

Members of Il Cenacolo enjoy a banquet of benefits. These include weekly lunches, which are highlighted by brief but compelling presentations on a variety of topics, such as opera, music, painting, San Francisco and North Beach history, architecture, world affairs, and much, much, more!

What We Love

We love everything Italian!
We celebrate Italian history, art, food, wine, all forms of music and literature and the friendship and camaraderie that derives from our membership.
In other words, we love life.

  • Status of events will be announced on an ad hoc basis. Please stay tuned.

Il Cenacolo at the Marin Italian Film Festival

Second Annual SF Opera House Tour


December 4, 2020
Il Cenacolo Holiday Gala


Il Cenacolo: The Jewel of San Francisco

I’d like to tell you a story...

Some years ago, there was a movie with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, called “The Jewel of the Nile.” Michael Douglas plays an Indiana Jones wannabe, searching throughout the Nile Valley looking for the Jewel of the Nile. After many adventures, it turns out, the Jewel of the Nile is not a precious stone, a diamond, emerald or ruby. No. The Jewel of the Nile is a person.

So, I started thinking. What is the Jewel of San Francisco? And I realized, like the Jewel of the Nile, The Jewel of San Francisco is not a thing. Not a precious stone. Is it one of the beautiful and iconic things that surround us? Is it the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, our beautiful bay, Golden Gate Park, the beautiful dome on City Hall?

No. It is none of those things.

The JEWEL OF SAN FRANCISCO is Il Cenacolo! ....

(Click here to read Chuck's full
Man of the Year Award Acceptance Speech)

Il Cenacolo celebrated
90 years
as the premier

Italian Cultural Club
in San Francisco
at our Christmas Gala

December 7, 2018
at the St. Francis Yacht Club. 



-Ron Derenzi, Committee Chairman

President David T. Giannini, Supervisor Catherine Stefani, and Consul General of Italy Lorenzo Ortona holding the Certificate of Honor for Il Cenacolo issued by the San Francisco Board of Superviors.

Professor Giacomo's
"La Cultura Italiana"

Our very own Dr. James Boitano delivers a well-researched, well-written and provocative article each month about all things Italian: famous and infamous Italians, unique places and traditions, and any aspect of Italian culture, modern and historical, that captures his attention. 

Il Cenacolo Logo

"Itala Gente Dalle Molte Vite"

Our club motto, “itala gente dalle molte vite,” is translated literally as “Italian people of the many lives,” or, more poetically, “Many-lived Italian people.”

It is open to different interpretations. It might refer to the ability of Italians collectively to engage in rebirth, revival and reinvention, after prolonged periods of abject decline, as in Rinascimento (cultural renaissance), Risorgimento (political resurgence), the postwar “Boom degli Anni Sessanta” (1960s “economic miracle” ).

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"You may have the universe, let Italy remain mine" (Giuseppe Verdi in his opera, “Attila”)

"That sentiment pretty much sums up the attitude of the members of Il Cenacolo -- even if they are Irish,” said Stephanie Salter in the San Francisco Chronicle back in 2003, with words that still ring true.

"Tastes, trends and affinity groups have come and gone in San Francisco, but for over 90 years Il Cenacolo has stayed the course with minimal change. The club exists today for precisely the same reasons it was founded in 1928 ….so that its members can learn about and support art, music, language and culture -- particularly of the Italian persuasion.  

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Q. When you were a kid, what did you want to be?

A. When I was very young, I was at a birthday party.

     My mom was going around the table asking,
     "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

     Kids were saying; "An astronaut." "A fireman."
     "A policeman."

     I said, "An Italian."

Christopher Herb Caen (son of Herb Caen) in SF Chronicle 2009.

Photo By Fred Lyon 


Il Cenacolo always welcomes new members, both men and women. To learn more about becoming a member, click the Information button.