Procida wins Italian Capital of Culture 2022

Procida is the winner for the 2022 Culture Capital – a cultural gem which will ignite a ‘year of restart and rebirth’ – the Cultural Heritage Minister Dario Franceschini praises

Procida, the tiny island near the coast of Naples (between Capo Miseno and the island of Ischia) has taken the cultural crown, as confirmed by Italy’s culture ministry on 18th January 2020. Dario Franceschini, Italy’s Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism was pleased to announce Procida as the winner. Parma, the town that won for 2020 will remain the cultural capital for an extra year in 2021, due to the pandemic – before passing on the title to Procida in 2022.

Franceschini stated that Procida had an impressive cultural project titled ‘Culture Does Not Isolate’ which was poetic and captured the island’s history and coastline, which made it stand out from the nine other contenders. It is the first time a small place (Procida measures less than 4 square kilometres), has been awarded the coveted title. Franceschini then went on to say that the colourful Mediterranean island would “accompany us in a year of restart and rebirth”.

Raimondo Ambrosino, the mayor of Procida, was highly thankful for the award and humbled by the recognition his island has received. He said immediately after the announcement, “we are honoured and congratulate all the other cities whose files we have seen and studied the cultural proposals…culture, for us and for them, can be an extraordinary detonator of the strategic recovery plan. We thank you for this enormous historic opportunity for a small municipality, for a small island…we will certainly work hard to make Italy proud of this choice “.

Intrigued further by Procida? The 1994 film ‘Il Postino’ was filmed on the island, as well as ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ and ‘Cleopatra’. With its bright houses that look like an acrylic painting from the shore, it is no wonder this Flegrean dwelling was chosen as a film set and as captivating cultural hotspot for the whole nation to know about. Congratulations Procida!

Who were the 10 finalists for the 2022 Italy Cultural Capital?

The shortlist of towns and cities proposing themselves for the title of ‘Italian Capital of Culture 2022’ was shortlisted down to 10, by a jury chaired by Professor Stefano Baia Curioni.

The 10 finalists all presented a culture project for their city, which they hoped to develop and come to fruition if they won.

These were the 10 candidates for 2022:

  • Ancona – a city and seaport on the East coast of central Italy, with a rich history of merchants and invasions. Popular sights are the Ancona cathedral and Arch of Trajan.
  • Bari – the capital of Puglia, one of Italy’s southern regions, Bari boasts impressive sights such as the Swabian castle and Russian church.
  • Cerveterinot far from Rome in northern Lazio, this UNESCO World Heritage site is home to the Necropoli della Banditaccia – a large architectural space filled with around 1,000 ancient tombs.
  • L’Aquila – L’Aquila, which translates to ‘The Eagle’ in English, is a commune in central Italy known to have great importance during the middle ages and a geographical closeness to the Apennine mountains.
  • Pieve di Soligo – a pretty town in the Treviso province, in north-east Italy.
  • Procida – one of the Flegrean islands off the coast of Naples, this brightly coloured island has a rich history of pirates and smuggling. It is where they filmed Cleopatra (1963), starring Elizabeth Taylor.
  • Taranto – situated in the nook of the inner heel of Italy’s boot, Taranto was founded hundreds of years ago by the Spartans and has always been a great spot to see dolphins.
  • Trapani – based in Sicily, Trapani is an important fishing port and home to many impressive churches.
  • Verbania – situated on the shore of Lake Maggiore, Verbania is only 40km from Milano and has impressive Villa Taranto, with idyllic botanical gardens.
  • Volterra – a walled mountaintop town in Tuscany, this atmospheric town is where Stephanie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series, based the Volturi, the fictional yet famous coven of elite, regal and rich vampire rulers.

All these fascinating finalist cities had to present their projects in front of the jury during a public hearing at the culture ministry in Rome on 14 and 15 January 2021. Then the jury narrowed down the most suitable candidate (in their opinion) for this highly-regarded title. Culture minister Dario Franceschini handed over the prestigious award.

Bergamo and Brescia have in fact been awarded cultural titles for 2023, in an empathetic attempt to rebuild these two towns which have been devastated by the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding and support will give the joint winners hope for the future.

While Procida won the 2022 title, it is safe to say that all 10 are captivating in their own right, and worth adding to your travel bucket list.

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