Sono orgolioso di “Pontelandolfo 1861”! Bravo!
(I am proud of “Pontelandolfo 1861”! )
I know that is not an attention grabbing first line but, damn, I am so proud of the my little Italian home town’s latest initiative.
With funding – finanziamente -from the Unione Europea – Fondo europeo agricolo per lo sviluppo rurale: l’Europe investe nelle zone rurali (European Union – investment program for rural areas), Italian Ministero Delle Politiche Agricole Alementari E Forestali (Italy’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Forests) , and the Regione Campania Assessorato Agricoltura (Region’s Department of Agriculture) – Pontelandolfo is undergoing a renaissance.
Renato Rinaldi of the Pontelandolfo News (Pontelandolfonews.com) made sure I got an invitation to the August 26th –
Presentazione progetto “1861 i luoghi dell’eccidio”
Alla manifestazione di presentazione del progetto “1861 i luoghi dell’eccidio”, progetto integrato per la realizzazione di un itinerario storico-turistico alla scoperta della città martire di Pontelandolfo. (A presentation of the “1861 places of the massacre”,an integrated project designed to attract historical tourism to the martyred city of Pontelandolfo.)
Renato Rinaldi, who has written a complete history of the period, gave an overview of the history. He has a great voice and engaging presentation. After the presentation I asked if he had been an actor.
Prof. Renato Rinaldi, Gabriele Palladino, Sindaco Dott. Gianfranco Rinaldi, l’artista Riccardo Fortuna
This presentation gave the community an overview of the project that will hopefully give a financial boost to Pontelandolfo. With funding from all levels of government the historic center of the town is undergoing a much needed facelift. Buildings that have crumbled over the last 1,000 years are being restored, a charming park with a great view was just finished and the town council is committed to bringing tourists back – or perhaps here for the first time.
I know, I know this sounds like the dream and plan of every small Italian town – here is why I am SO PROUD. Pontelandolfo came up with a very specific and chilling historic hook. On the 14th of August 1861 the town was destroyed – burned to a crisp. After being forced from their homes, men, women and children were butchered. Is that date percolating in your brain? This was during the not so peaceful march to unify Italy – risorgimento. What – women and children were murdered? Yup! Rebels from San Lupo – folks who were content with their Burbone King – had hidden in Pontelandolfo and popped out to kill a couple of Garibaldi’s soldiers. General Cialdini was in charge with getting Southern Italy to toe the unification line. He wasn’t pleased with loosing a few men and sent 500 soldiers to Pontelandolfo and Casalduni with the order not to let a rock remain. Hey – we are talking farmers here – no hidden weapons of mass destruction. It was one terrifying and troubling night. The story plays well – believe me – the underdog – rebels for a just cause etc. It is quite the hook! Books have been written about it – the most recent a Fumetto sull’eccidio di Pontelandolfo e Casalduni – graphic novel with great art by Riccardo Fortuna. Riccardofortuna.it. In 2011, the President of Italy actually apologized for the massacre.
Realizzato dallo scultore Mario Ferrante
Wonderful sculpture representing the horror by Mario Ferrante.
Check out this incredible website – the google offer to translate pops up – Pontelandolfo1861. I hope they continue to grow this site and add more information for tourists – in a variety of languages.
During the presentation we heard from il sindaco Gianfranco Rinaldi – the mayor. He announced that this was a two pronged program. First the centro storico would be rehabbed, the website completed and signage describing the medieval history of the town and the night of terror would be placed around the town. They also printed two pamphlets to describe the towns history. They are slick and I hope they will let me help create a set in English. The art work on the large signs is wonderful and I am sure the Italian descriptions are perfect. The English translations need some revision.
The second phase is to attract tourists to come. I am not sure how they plan to do that but hope they include an italo-americano in the strategy session.