In the end the most anticipated award went to Palermo. The Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini announced that the Sicilian capital was chosen as the Italian capital of culture for 2018 by a panel chaired by Stefano Baia Curioni. The other finalists were Alghero, Aquileia, Comacchio, Herculaneum, Montebelluna, Recanati, Settimo Torinese, Trento and Erice.
“The candidacy is backed by a high-quality credible project that is supported by all institutional partners” commented Minister Franceschini. Mayor Leoluca Orlando invited all the mayors of the excluded towns on stage and told them “we all won”; then he pointed out that the strength of Palermo consists in being, “at difficult times like these, the city of immigrant receptivity and integration”.
In the dossier presented by the city for the candidacy, Mayor Leoluca Orlando and the Councillor for Culture Andrea Cusumano focused primarily on Manifesta12, one of the global scale biennial of contemporary art to be held in Palermo in 2018; but they also pointed on the fact that in 2015 UNESCO proclaimed the Arab-Norman itinerary between Palermo, Monreale and Cefalu World Heritage Site. Palermo, a few weeks ago, was also declared the Young Italian capital for 2017.
In recent years tourism in the area has been on the increase and the projects that will be undertaken during 2018 point to enhance further the cultural heritage of a city that, with the strength gained from its strong tradition, can proudly face future challenges.
Ilona Catani Scarlett