Archive for November, 2014

Press release: UNESCO recognized for promoting Mediterranean cultural heritage

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

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On the occasion of the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders and in the framework of the XXIII General Assembly of the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) held on 26 November 2014, UNESCO received an award for promoting Mediterranean cultural heritage in the world and for its efforts to promote the tangible and intangible cultural heritage as a distinguishing value in other countries. (Puglia is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the trulli houses in Alberobello, Castel Del Monte in Andria and Gargano’s Monte Sant’Angelo.)

The ASCAME award was given to Kishore Rao, Director of the Division for Heritage and the World Heritage Centre, on behalf of UNESCO at a gala dinner of the ASCAME General Assembly in the Casa Llotja de Mar in Barcelona by Mohamed Choucair, President of ASCAME, and Miquel Valls i Maseda, President of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation.

Receiving the award, Rao expressed his appreciation for the commitment of ASCAME to protect and promote the Mediterranean cultural heritage, which transcends national boundaries and reflects the life of the region’s communities, their history and their identities. He highlighted the contribution of culture and heritage to development and peaceful co-existence and underscored that this needs to be fully recognized in the post-2015 development agenda that the international community is currently building.

On 27 November, Rao delivered a speech on behalf of UNESCO in the official inauguration of the VI Mediterranean Tourism Forum ‒ MEDITOUR 2014. He highlighted the rich cultural and natural heritage of the Mediterranean region, with 236 World Heritage sites and 56 Elements on the Intangible Heritage List, and the efforts that UNESCO is making to safeguard and promote this heritage together with all stakeholders, including through its sustainable tourism program. He also reiterated UNESCO’s commitment to strengthen cooperation with the Mediterranean countries and institutions, to harness the true potential of culture and tourism for a more sustainable future.

Cisternino in Puglia honored among “Most Beautiful Villages of Italy”

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

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Cisternino, a town in the Province of Brindisi in Puglia, has been recognized as one of “The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy” by “Les Plus Beaux Villages de la Terre,” a federation founded in 2012 by five associations of “Most Beautiful Villages” in Belgium, Canada, France, Italy and Japan. Italy is represented by “I Borghi Piu Belli d’Italia.”

Cisternino joins other Puglia towns previously recognized by the federation, including Alberona, Bovino, Pietramontecorvino, Roseto Valfortore and Vico del Gargano in the Province of Foggia; Locorotondo in the Province of Bari; and Otranto and Specchia in the Province of Lecce.

The federation recognizes “the need to promote the great heritage of history, art, culture, environment and traditions found in small Italian towns which are, for the most part, cut off from the flow of visitors and tourists.”

The mayor of Cisternino, Donato Baccaro, told La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, “We are very honored to have received this prestigious recognition and confirmation that we are on the right track to bring our city to the attention of the international circuits. I am convinced, in fact, that this recognition will provide more opportunity both in terms of tourism in the cultural sphere.”

The official Region of Puglia tourism website says, “The municipality of Cisternino is located in the amazing Valle d’Itria, renowned for its trulli, the cultivated fields, the centuries-old olive trees and dry stonewalls. In the old town you can admire the many historical palaces: the Governor’s palace, a wonderful example of the Apulian Baroque; the Bishop’s palace, the Amati palace, the Lagravinese palace, the palace of De Vitofranceschi and the Ricci-Capece palace annexed to the homonymous tower, also known as the Wind Tower.”

There are so many small towns throughout Puglia that are home to interesting museums, churches and other local attractions (especially food). Some of the best times we’ve had exploring in Puglia were spent driving from place to place and stopping wherever we saw something interesting. We applaud this program for drawing attention to these special places and encouraging their sustainability efforts.

Photo Copyright © APT Puglia

Beyond Puglia: Another major film project for a popular neighbor

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

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The ancient stone city of Matera is not in Puglia (it’s in the neighboring Region of Basilicata), but it is so close to Altamura that many travelers think of it as being in Puglia and include visits there as part of their Puglia itineraries. Some tour operators even mistakenly describe the city as being in Puglia and include it in their tour programs to the region. Matera recently edged out Lecce and other Italian cities for the designation as the “European Capital of Culture” in 2019. That said, it’s a fascinating place to visit and it’s interesting to keep track of what’s going on there.

Because of its unusual and ancient architecture, filmmakers often use Matera as a location for productions set in ancient times, perhaps most notably “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” and Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” Now comes news via La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno that the city will be the location of “Jerusalem” for a 2015 remake of “Ben-Hur,” the Oscar-winning 1959 film that starred Charlton Heston. This time, the big name involved is Morgan Freeman. Already, the producers are recruiting upwards of 2,000 extras for the filming in Matera, slotted for February and March.

Photo by Vito Arcomano/Copyright © Fototeca ENIT

Especially Puglia launches “Adopt an Olive Tree” campaign

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Puglia native Michele Iadarola, founder of the Especially Puglia project on Kickstarter, writes on his website: “Harvest is here! Now is your chance to receive the freshest extra virgin olive oil from Puglia, Italy directly to your table.”

He also writes: “Puglia is in the Southern region of Italy and is the heel of the boot. It’s the ‘holy land’ of olive trees, numbering 60 million olive trees and just under half a million trees are known as ‘ulivi secolari,’ or centuries-old trees.”

Venaranda’s family have been olive growers in Puglia for generations, so this project is close to our hearts. Learn more about the Especially Puglia project and check out the video here.