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Matera, cultural caput mundi for 2019

Matera, cultural caput mundi for 2019

TORONTO – It’s a big deal, as they
say in the sports world. Matera, a
small, ancient (aren’t they all?) city
in Basilicata, Southern Italy, yes-
terday kicked o‡ in an o cial cere-
mony its year as the cultural cap-
ital of Europe.

The festivities drew the lavish
attention of dignitaries of national, regional and local importance.

It was a command attendance for
mayors of the regional municipal-
ities of Matera and the [regional
capital] Potenza.

Performers, musicians and artists from near and far crowded the
streets and piazzas to join in the
celebration.

So did the rest of Italy. Two pol-
itical notable National figures born
in Southern Italy, President Mattarella and Prime Minister Conte,
delivered the keynote addresses.

They and the country expect
Matera to lead Italy and Europe in
a cultural renaissance and new sci-
entific research and development
in the technologies of tomorrow.

The city has a fascinating and
varied history. Its territory has
hosted “indigenous populations”
dating back 10,000 years: Bruttii,
Samnites, Greeks, Latins and later
invaders like Longobards, Nor-
mans, Vikings and Arabs to name
a few, each leaving a legacy whose
unique contributions to civiliza-
tion are being rediscovered and
re-adapted to contemporary soci-
eties.

Notables like mathematician
Pythagoras and the General-Pol-
itician Lucullus, co-triumvir with
Caesar and Crassus in Rome, made
it their place of residence.

Closer to home, ex-pat Lucani
from both Matera and Potenza
convened at the Basilicata Cultur-
al Society (BCS) headquarters on
Roytec Rd, in Vaughan, to join in
the long-distance jubilation, nur-
tured with the usual alimentations
and libations for which they are re-
nowned.

Corriere Canadese, which has
chronicled and supported the
dedication of the BCS in securing
the twinning of Matera with To-
ronto, moved its television studio
to the site to transmit live, inter-
actively, with Italy when Rai Uno
declined the opportunity to con-
nect the festivities to the Diaspora.

Thanks to edited versions of
drone videos made available by the
municipalities and former citizens
of Matera, Potenza, Montesca-
glioso, Ferrandina, Palazzo San
Gervasio, Pisticci, Miglionico, Cor-
riere Canadese TV was able to pro-
vide visual backgrounds for inter-
views with Mayors and prominent
citizens from Basilicata.

The weather tried to “rain on
their parade” – literally, in Italy;
a wintery blast of below-freezing
temperatures and snow in Toron-
to – but it did not curb anyone’s en-
thusiasm.

Via our TV, the mayor of
Montescaglioso, Vincenzo Zito;
the former Mayor of Palazzo San
Gervasio, Mario Romanelli; the
executive director of the Museo
Pinacoteca D’Errico, Mario Salu-
zzi and Sam Primucci, from Flor-
ida, joined their colleagues in To-
ronto, live.

Italian Senator, Francesca Alde-
risi, federal MP from Ottawa, Fran-
cesco Sorbara and Vaughan Mayor,
Maurizio Bevilacqua also attended
to be present with their constitu-
ents.

They were mobbed by Lucani
ex-pats eager to take “selfies” with
them.

It would be an understatement
to suggest that the atmosphere
was festive. BCS Interim President
Antonio Locantore joined Paolo
Petrozza and Nina Mazziotta in
singing the praises of Montesca-
glioso before our cameras.

Filippo Gravina, Pietro Di Lecce and Francesco Manchisi gloried in their na-
tive Matera. Pat Tremamunno and
Enzo Paolicelli (BCS’ o cial chef)
did likewise of their Ferrandina.
Danny Montesano, Palazzo San
Gervasio, defied his doctor’s or-
ders so that he could join person-
ally the celebrations of his belov-
ed Basilicata.

By the end of the ceremonies,
over 2500 people had visited the
event in the BCS via Corriere Can-
adese TV and Facebook. If you
missed it, go to Corriere.com vid-
eos.

Congratulations to Materani
and Lucani.

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