Palermo for European Capital of Culture 2019

Photo by Antonio Saporito

Well, I bet you are wondering what this is all about. Almost 30 years ago, in 1985 the European Union decided to recognize each year one or more cities with the title 'European Capital of Culture. The 2013 European Capital of Culture candidates are Marseille (France) and KoŇ°ice (Slovakia).

(Photo by: Antonio Saporito)

What does this title mean for the winning city? Being designated European City of the Year is a great honor and a real opportunity to create a genuine and long-lasting change for the city's culture and economy. During the one-year period, the city is in the spotlight, representing all the other European cities, with their diversity and multiculturalism, thus representing to the world, the true essence of being European.

You have five years to prepare, to change the city's image and wait for 'D-Day.' It's a bit like a bride who knows the exact day of her wedding  prepares every single detail in order to be the center of everybody attention, all the while trying to ensure that she makes her family and guests proud.

The countries that are designated by the EU in 2019 are Italy and Bulgaria, so the competition starts between Palermo, Venezia, Ravenna, Siena, L'Aquila, Amalfi, Matera, Brindisi, Terni, Mantova, so far. Those are the Italian cities that are applying for the title of European Capital of Culture 2019. The verdict will be announced in 2014.

(Photo by: Cetty Spadaro)
I'm proud that Palermo decided to take part in this. We don't know if we stand a chance of winning; but after all, and in the end, the most important thing is not winning but taking part.

If you ask me, my city needs this kind of incentive in order to jump-start it out of its lethargy. A generous city, Palermo has experienced throughout history long periods of splendor to interminable periods of decadence. Through the Renaissance and the Middle Ages, with every period and each conqueror, something unerasable, and yet always tangible has been left by those who lived here.

This 'undefinable something' is why we deserve to win the competition. Palermo is a melting pot of cultures and contradictions, a monument to diversity and multiculturalism, living proof of a will to change its future without forgetting its past.

Palermo is the book you haven't read yet, the poetry nobody told you about, here  “everything is what it is and it can also be its exact opposite”, so please don't be satisfied with the first impression. Instead, go further and you will be surprised by what you will see.

Bottom line: competing for the title is important because it makes us act as a unified and vital community, one which loves and cares about this special place. So we should try to finally act on our city's problems once and for all instead of whining.

I hope Palermo wins not only the title of European Capital of Culture but also, and above everything, the heart of every single Palermitan. I hope that this contest makes us finally understand how beautiful and unique our city is, how much we care about it, and last, but not least that we, Palermitans, are the only keepers of our memories and author of our future.