Set against the backdrop of the stunning architecture of The Bank on Collins, in Melbourne’s CBD, the networking event reunited members of the Italo-Australian community and provided business professionals from various sectors the chance to connect over their mutual passion for all things Italian.

The sold-out night was a huge success, with guests ranging from fresh-faced university graduates to established names in the corporate world.

“One almost forgets how to network after such a significant amount of time away from these types of events,” Luigi Zarro of the Melbourne Innovation Centre said.

“It’s a pleasure and we’re very fortunate to be out connecting with other businesspeople in such a fantastic location.”

Another guest present on the night, Noelene Treloar of Adrian M Trioli – Intellectual Property, added that the event helped cure a growing sense of nostalgia for the Belpaese due to travel restrictions imposed amid the pandemic.

“This is the closest we’re going to get to Italy for a long time,” she said.

Mimma Garipoli of MA Legal (left) and Noelene Treloar of Adrian M Trioli – Intellectual Property

Between meeting new people and catching up with familiar faces, guests were given a rundown of ALTO’s activities during the pandemic, as well as a sneak peek of what’s in store for the coming year.

The organisation’s president, David La Greca, acknowledged the challenges that many members of the community faced during Melbourne’s lockdowns.

“With the uncertainty surrounding the reopening of businesses – let alone events – ALTO had to shift its focus from a networking group and redirect our attention to what else we could do to give back to the community,” he said during his speech.

“We created a member survey giving our members the opportunity to provide feedback to help ALTO constantly evolve and improve.

“In turn, we gave away almost $3000 in vouchers to help support our sponsors from the hospitality industry that were affected by the lockdowns.”

The sold-out event was held at The Bank on Collins

During the darkest days of the pandemic, ALTO hosted several virtual events via Zoom, including a job preparation session with HR consultant, Lena Coates, an aperitivo evening with That’s Amore Cheese and Vino Bambino – in which guests were literally transported to a Tuscan vineyard thanks to the wonders of technology – and an AFL grand final event with GWS Giants captain, Stephen Coniglio.

The organisation also worked on a new version of its website, which will be launched over the coming weeks, as well as developing a monthly newsletter centred on Italian culture.

Looking to the future, La Greca announced that ALTO is in the process of expanding into Western Australia, in addition to growing the South Australian branch that was established in 2019.

Wednesday night’s event kicked off ALTO’s 2021 social calendar and will be followed by several more major events over the coming year, culminating in the organisation’s highly-anticipated annual Christmas celebrations.

For more information or to become a member, visit ALTO’s website or Facebook page.