SOCIETY

Mayor of Cava de’ Tirreni, an Italian town with a Greek connection, explains why it is twinning with Delphi

The southern Italian town of Cava de’ Tirreni and the ancient city of Delphi are about to come together after centuries apart. The twinning of the two cities was set in motion last August during a visit of Cava de’ Tirreni Mayor Marco Galdi to Delphi, where he met his Greek counterpart Nikolaos D. Fousekis and the latter’s deputy, Ioannis Liritzis. The two mayors agreed to forge a partnership which Galdi says will bring important cultural, economic and social developments.

The initiative also has significant historical value as Cava de’ Tirreni hosted Greece’s exiled government in 1944.

Galdi spoke to Kathimerini English Edition about the partnership and the importance of keeping alive Greek and Italian cultural heritage.

This initiative also comes from a specific request made by the Youth Forum of Cava de’ Tirreni. Why Delphi? How important is this initiative for your community?

We have a very active youth community. For instance, last June we organized together with the young people of Cava de’ Tirreni a “Night of Culture” dedicated to Greece. This event gave us the idea of twinning with a Greek city. However, I must confess that the choice of Delphi was mine. Delphi, the navel of the world, was certainly the religious and moral center of Hellenism: Even today we can see the ruins of the Treasury of Athens. The entire Greek world gathered there, around the Greek god Apollo and his oracle. I am deeply proud and honored that the mayor of Delphi and its municipal administration have accepted our proposal for a twinning. Especially because to forge a partnership with Delphi symbolically means providing Greece with a brotherly embrace.

You spoke about potential social, cultural and economic developments. Do you already have any future projects in mind? Which activities will be undertaken within the framework of the partnership?

There is no doubt that the partnership is primarily designed to strengthen relations between people and allow cultural exchanges and experiences. However, I should also mention that during the meeting with the mayor of Delphi, Nikolaos D. Fousekis, and with Deputy Mayor Ioannis Liritzis, we talked about the idea to bring the ancient tradition of the Delphic Games to many Italian cities that were founded by Greeks.

Bringing the Delphic Games to a different city in Italy, France or Spain each time could be a good chance to rediscover the cities founded by the Greeks which have lost their identity. That could also be useful to increase interest in Greece as a tourist destination, Delphi in particular. The economic impact could also be significant. In my opinion, all of Europe should rediscover its historical links with Greece. But this is a long discussion.

Regarding the partnership, what would be the added value for Italy and Greece?

The added value would be to bring to the attention of thousands of people our culture, which is the main, if not the only, resource our countries have in a globalized and increasingly competitive environment.

Do you want to send a national or European message through the partnership?

I do not presume to be able to send such important messages. Nevertheless, I would like just to remind our leaders and everyone else, especially young people, that Greece and Italy have a unique and unrepeatable historical background. Both countries are endowed with a priceless cultural heritage that we must never forget despite all today’s difficulties. We should be proud to have been the cradle of civilization, and keep this memory alive in our museums, excavations, ruins, cities and landscapes.