Many people who read us probably know Mario Lanza best by the huge mural that’s hung over Broad and Reed streets since 1997.
Well, there’s more than just a mural about the famous homegrown opera singer. In fact, the New York Times just featured the Mario Lanza Institute in Bella Vista in a story about small museums for hometown heroes.
Though millions saw his movies and bought his records (“Be My Love,” “Arrivederci Roma”) in the 1940s and 1950s, Lanza, who died in 1959 at age 38, is virtually unknown to the general public today. On a good day, perhaps 10 or 15 people visit to look at costumes, publicity posters, old photos and other items while his songs play in the background.
If that building looks familiar, you may be thinking of the SoPhilly Spotlight we did in the fall about the convent a few doors down that had been converted into condos. Looks like it used to be part of the same complex.