A Sicilian Renaissance

by Annie

salemi1Salemi is a small village in western Sicily that is hardly known to Italians, let alone people around the world. However, this old-world town is getting celebrity treatment since the appointment of art historian, anarchist, and T.V. personality Vittorio Sgarbi as Mayor, and the controversial photographer Oliviero Toscani as Culture Minister.

The duo first made headlines for Salemi by offering 1 Euro homes for sale (the catch being that the 1968 earthquake-ravaged buildings must be renovated in two years). Most recently they have teamed up with Fondazione Clio, a foundation for contemporary culture, to secure the donation of 55,000 films from the legendary Mr. Kim’s Video in New York City.

salemi2There is an atmosphere of creativity and the unknown as Salemi transforms itself into the International City of Independent Cinema. Mr. Toscani has employed young people from across the country to help brainstorm ideas to bring Salemi to the forefront of Italian culture. There are plans for a never-ending film festival and a series of nationally televised interviews of the townspeople entitled “Close-Up.”

Auguri a Salemi! (Best wishes to Salemi)



– Contributed by Ian Zurzolo, student, Prof. Geoghegan’s Travel Writing Class, American University of Rome

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