“And the winner is… Palermo!”. The Sicilian capital has been named “Italian Capital of Culture 2018” The decision was made yesterday by a jury appointed by the Culture Ministry and will result in a million-euro award for promotion and investments, as well as a likely increase in tourist visits.
Palermo, one of the most beautiful cities in Italy—with a truly enviable historical and cultural legacy—was one of the finalists on the shortlist of ten cities: the others were Alghero, Aquileia, Comacchio, Ercolano, Montebelluna, Recanati, Settimo Torinese, Trento, and a joint Elima-Erice bid (including Buseto Palizzolo, Custonaci, Erice, Paceco, San Vito Lo Capo, and Valderice).
Now that the city has achieved this recognition, the Sicilian capital will gain certain economic benefits. For starters, it will receive €1 million, allowing it to carry out investments to promote cultural activities and increase the value of its artistic heritage.
This expenditure will be excluded from the so-called “Internal Stability Pact”—the limitations the Italian government placed on municipalities in order to manage their budgets.
The title of “Italian Capital of Culture” lasts for one year.
“We saw that this virtuous competition creates a system of communal participation,” said Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, “Being on the shortlist is a bit like receiving an Oscar nomination: it allows them to do a lot of work, in terms of planning and promotions.”
“We’ve all won” said a jubilant Palermo mayor, Leoluca Orlando. “The most significant cultural asset we uphold is the culture of welcome. We support the right of all human beings to be and remain different, but to be and remain the same“.
The jury’s citation said “the candidacy is backed by an original project, of high cultural value, great humanitarian scope, strongly and generously aimed at inclusion, permanent training, the creation of capacity and citizenship, without neglecting the valorisation of the heritage and contemporary artistic production“.
It said “the project is supported by the principal local institutional and cultural actors and also envisages infrastructural events able to leave a lasting and positive mark. The elements of governance, public-private synergy and economic context, then, help strengthen its sustainability and credibility”
For the Phoenicians’ Route an additional element to consider for the 2018 strategies which also will celebrate the European Year of Cultural Heritage and Malta – European Capital of Culture.