Procida, the colourful island off the coast of Naples in southern Italy, was named Italian Capital of Culture for 2022, beating nine other candidates.
It is the first time an island has been awarded this prestigious recognition; the award is given to the candidate that has presented what is considered the most promising culture project, meant to enhance the area’s cultural heritage and development and to improve tourist services for national and international visitors.
Procida won with a project titled, La Cultura non Isola, meaning ‘culture does not isolate,’ playing on the word ‘island’ - isola - in Italian. The other candidates were Ancona, Bari, Cerveteri, L'Aquila, Pieve di Soligo near Treviso, Taranto, Trapani, Verbania on Lake Maggiore and Volterra.
On January 18, when the nomination was announced, Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said, “Today's nomination of the Italian cultural capital for 2022 is a signal for the future, for the recovery.” He added that in 2022, “we will have returned to normality and culture and tourism will again be important and very strong as they were before the pandemic.”
"This enormous joy we feel represents the feeling of many minor villages in Italy,” said Procida mayor Dino Ambrosino, speaking shortly after learning Procida had won. “I think that Procida can be considered a metaphor for many places, many administrations, many communities that have rediscovered enthusiasm and pride for their territory and who, with this title, want to build an important redemption for their lands.”
He added: “It is an extraordinary opportunity for a small island, we will work hard to make Italy proud of this choice.” Procida is part of the Flegrean Archipelago in the Gulf of Naples, which comprises four islands, including popular Ischia. Procida is tiny, measuring 4.1 square kilometres.
The Italian Capital of Culture for 2021 is Parma, which won last year; having been unable to put to fruition its culture projects due to the pandemic, it is keeping the title for one more year.