The Most Beautiful Italian Village 2017 tittle has been awarded through votes cast by the audience of Kilimanjaro TV program and a jury formed by art historian Philippe Daverio, geologist Mario Tozzi and starred chef Cristina Bowermann. For the first time since 2014 the prize did not go to a Sicilian village – in 2014 Gangi (Palermo) won, in 2015 Montalbano Elicona (Messina) and in 2016 Sambuca di Sicilia (Agrigento).
Venzone, a village of just over 2 thousand inhabitants in the province of Udine is the symbol of reconstruction after the earthquake of 1976. It was heavily affected by the earthquake that on May 6 of 41 years ago devastated Friuli. Venzone suffered the worst damage in the aftermath of the earthquake; on the following September 15 even the bell tower of the Gothic cathedral, that was consecrated in 1338, crumbled down. The nearly 10 thousand stones it was made of were preserved and cataloged, numbering them one by one. When the reconstruction began, the stones were used to rebuild the entire structure with a reconstruction technique called anastylosis that consists of using the original architectural elements in the exact same way in which they were used when the building was erected. In 1995 the cathedral was officially returned to the city.
The other nominee were: Arquà Petrarca (Veneto), Canale di Tenno (Trentino Alto Adige), Castel Gandolfo (Latium), Castelmezzano (Basilicata), Castiglione di Sicilia, Conca dei Marini (Campania), Fiumefreddo (Calabria), Gressan (Aosta Valley), La Maddalena (Sardinia), Montecassiano (Marche), Montegridolfo (Emilia Romagna), Orta San Giulio (Piedmont), Otranto (Apulia), Panicale (Umbria), Rocca San Giovanni (Abruzzo), Suvereto (Tuscany), Tellaro (Liguria), Vastogirardi (Molise) and Zavattarello (Lombardy).
Ilona Catani Scarlett