Published: Wednesday, 04 January 2023 – Newsroom
GROTTAFERRATA (current news) – The city was chosen as the leader for the many reasons that historically bind it to the book
ilmamilio.it – press release
In September 2022, in response to the announcement issued by the Ministry of Culture for the awarding of the title of Italian Capital of the Book 2023the Castelli Romani System Consortium and the Castelli Romani Culture Foundation have proposed participation in the 17 Municipalities of the System: Albano Laziale, Ariccia, Castel Gandolfo, Ciampino, Colonna, Frascati, Genzano di Roma, Grottaferrata, Lanuvio, Lariano, Marino, Monte Compatri, Monte Porzio Catone, Nemi , Rocca di Papa, Rocca Priora, Velletri. Once the availability was triggered, the Consortium and the Foundation promoted and coordinated the candidacy of the Castelli Romani for Italian Book Capital 2023, identifying the Lead Partner as the Municipality that had, as envisaged by the call itself, a history closely connected to the book, as well as a historical-cultural monument and planning linked and interconnected to it, in conjunction with a territorial perspective.
The choice fell immediately, and unanimously, on Grottaferrata, as an exponent of the entire territory of the Castelli Romani, for the – many – reasons that historically tie it inseparably to the book. Just to name a few – the main ones – it will be enough to remember that the core of the city itself was born in the Middle Ages around the Monastery of Santa Maria – better known as the Abbey of San Nilo – founded in 1004 by Saints Nilo and Bartolomeo of Rossano Calabro, today precious, if not unique, testimony of the Greek-Catholic Byzantine monastic presence in Italy and in the world. A millenary tradition within which, due to the natural propensity of the monks to transmit treasures of spirituality also through the production and conservation of books, a Scriptorium and a rich library flourished from the outset, which later became a state library, recognized as a National Monument in 1874 .
In 1931 the Ministry of National Education instituted and entrusted to the monks of the Abbey of Grottaferrata an ”Antique book restoration laboratory” – one of the first in Italy to operate with scientific methodologies and techniques – in which many of ancient manuscripts and valuable volumes. Laboratory, still active, which has been collaborating since 2010 with the University of Tor Vergata – Faculty of Book Restoration. The history of the book as an industrial and cultural product has therefore marked the unfolding over time and the evolution of the ”social custom” of the city of Grottaferrata, and in addition to this the many initiatives related to the book, its use and its function , earned it a first national recognition in 2011 with the achievement of the title of ”City of the Book”; moreover, the City, as it is continuously engaged in the promotion of reading, has been officially recognized from 2020-21 as a ”City that Reads” by the Center for Books and Reading, in agreement with ANCI and thanks to the decisive impetus of the Consortium Castelli Romani system in collaboration with local schools; in the municipal library ”Bruno Martellotta”, managed in collaboration with the Consortium itself, and in the schools of Grottaferrata, in fact, numerous and imaginative initiatives linked to books and the promotion of reading for all ages have always taken place, starting from early childhood.
“The choice of Grottaferrata, unanimously agreed upon in the Assembly of Mayors last July, was successful – declared Emanuela Colella, Mayor of Ciampino – both for its cultural value in itself and for demonstrating the operational capacity oriented towards teamwork , work carried out for years by the SCR Consortium for the establishment of a common feeling of an entire territory”.
“Grottaferrata – we have known it for a few days – is now the only municipality in Lazio, among the 14 competing throughout Italy, to be a candidate for the national title of Book Capital 2023, together with Ariano Irpino (Av), Caltanissetta, Catania , Florence, Genoa, Lugo (RA), Nardò (LE), Nola (NA), Pontremoli (MS), San Quirico d’Orcia (SI), San Salvo (CH), Terni and Trapani – says Giuseppe De Righi, President of the SCR Consortium -. I thank all 17 Mayors of the area for their trust and spirit of collaboration, and of course the employees and managers of the SCR Consortium and the FCCR Foundation for the excellent work they have done, which has led to this first, but important, result, and who will play the role of promoter and, subsequently, of implementer of the project which, by its nature, will concern both operations to be carried out in the lead Municipality, and interventions of a territorial nature or in other Municipalities”.
“Teamwork always pays off – adds Stefano Cecchi, Mayor of Marino – and we know it well, starting with the excellent functioning, for years, of the territorial library system, which is one of the flagships of our territory, together to the tourist offer, for which we have been working with new impetus especially since the post-pandemic period, with a view to improving the local reception network, in a shared and participatory way; and it could not be otherwise”.
“The support of the SCR Consortium, the Foundation and the 17 Municipalities of the area is fundamental for us for a candidacy that looks to the historical and cultural heritage of Grottaferrata, kept in the Abbey of San Nilo and witnessed by the presence of the historic Pontifical Paper Mill, and Castelli Romani all – declares Mirko Di Bernardo, Mayor of Grottaferrata -. Obtaining the title would also allow us to access the funds necessary to create the Scuola del Libro, a real university research center on ancient books in collaboration with the University of Tor Vergata, partner of this project, whose support is for us cause for great pride. The synergy between institutions is crucial to trigger a new paradigm of systemic development of the territory. A process that has already begun – and this candidacy is an example – which has as its objective the repositioning of Grottaferrata and the Castelli Romani on a national cultural and socio-economic level”.
The first ”Italian book capital” was Chiari (BS), in 2020. In 2021 Vibo Valentia, in 2022 Ivrea. The name of the City elected in 2023 will be known in the first months of the year. The official website to monitor for updates is obviously the institutional pages of the Municipality of Grottaferrata and the SCR Consortium.