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2008 – Un’estate fantastica!
Antonio Piccoli di maone
Torricellano nel Mondo
Fotografie – Antonio Piccoli di maone
2008 – A Fantastic Summer!
Antonio Piccoli di maone
Torricellan in the World
August 13th was the crowning event of the summer, the day dedicated to the Torricellan in the World – a wonderful celebration full of meaning.
As you recall, the idea for this event arose from the Yahoo Group last year. Initially, a week dedicated to the Torricellans of the Word was planned, but then things got modified; the town administration took on the idea and made it into an award celebration. Last year’s winners were Albert Porreca and Dan Aspromonte, for reasons everyone knows. There was a huge celebration, and the winners were clearly very pleased.
During the winter through the Yahoo Group, we decided that if the award is to be respected and honored, we needed to come up with rules and procedures; so we started the process of defining those rules and procedures. The town administration approved them and made them official. Each year the town administration will now gather to grant an award to one of its distinguished citizens. If a new administration wants to get rid of the award, they will have to present a motion to the town council and a majority will have to vote to cancel it.
As Mayor Tiziano Teti explained in his speech at the award celebration, five conditions need to be met to be chosen “Torricellan in the World”: be alive; be born of Torricellan descent or be a resident of Torricella for a number of consecutive years; have done something notable in a professional, artistic, cultural or sport field; be nominated by May 30th via a short curriculum vitae of the nominee and reasons for the selection. Then, a commission is formed consisting of two council members from the majority party, two from the minority party and five other Torricellans chosen by the mayor together with previous winners of the award. The commission will meet for the first time by the end of June to choose a list of three finalists. Before the end of July the commission will meet again to choose among the 3 finalists. They will notify the winner in time so that he or she can be present for the award celebration in Torricella on August 13th.
I thought I should summarize the award process because many asked how the winner, Gianni Pugliese, was chosen. Six nominations were sent to the town hall, Gianni together with five others. One of the nominees, unfortunately, did not meet one of the essential prerequisites; he had passed away. After a lengthy discussion and a secret vote, the commission selected Gianni by an ample margin.
At noon on August 13th, in the hall of the town council, elegantly adorned with the artwork of Guglielmo Coladonato, the mayor stood in his official uniform between the vice-mayor and the councilman for tourism and in front of a full audience of Torricellans. Gianni Pugliese, 52 years old, born in Rome but of a Torricellan family, electronic engineer and inventor for his company Telecom & Security in Chieti Scalo, entered the hall welcomed by a very warm applause. He was honored with the award because he has received Italian and world recognition for his “CaP” invention, a connector for coaxial cables. As he explained, it is a simple yet innovative little device; he has managed to clobber his American and Japanese competitors in the same field. Gianni’s company now gives work to many young researchers.
The ceremony was very solemn, and at the same time very touching. Gianni had to stop several times because he was so moved. He was sincerely appreciative. He had prepared a speech, but he had trouble reading it because he got so emotional. As he said, this award means much more to him than awards given to him in America.
At the end of the ceremony, the mayor gave him a silver tower made by Pasquale Imbastaro, a Torricellan jeweler, and a beautiful parchment designed by Paola Di Biase, an artist from Chieti who is “nearly” Torricellan. On the parchment there was a dedication written by Gabrielle Porreca:
To Gianni Pugliese, a Torricellan that has taken his ingenuity to the rest of the world. His homeland nourished him with certain values, and these values have now received international recognition.
After the ceremony we all went to the small pine grove next to the Church of the Alpine Guard. It is a magnificent place with a full circular panorama. The Torricellan Alpine Guard Association kindly offered the locale for the event (this association cannot be thanked enough; they do so much for the town), together with tables, benches and the helping hand of Marziale D’Ulisse, the president of the association. Marziale then entertained those who attended the luncheon (more than 80) singing Torricellan songs in his inimitable style, together with the backing of many of the attendees and the accompaniment of Giose Di Fabrizio on the accordion and Gianni Testa on the guitar.
It was a fantastic afternoon. It was cool under the shade of the pine grove. When I hear songs such as “Paese me” and Quann’ariscalla l’aria a San Vincenze”, I recall many open-air feasts of the past and those that were dear to us, but have passed on……but let’s go on to something else.
The lunch was prepared by the Hotel Paradiso: rigatoni with chicken ragu, chicken with potatoes and salad, watermelon, ample amounts of wine, and an exceptional fiadone that was devoured. They had to bring four more fiadoni because the 90 pieces or so that they brought initially were not enough. It was fresh, moist, sweet and thick. You have to admit, Vincenzo Di Cino, the owner of the Hotel Paradiso, makes the best fiadone around!!
During the ceremony and the luncheon, some said it would be nice to organize a day to remember those who passed away, and in particular, music composers were mentioned such as Roberto Porreca and Alfredo Piccone. An event dedicated to the operas of Vincenzo Bellini senior was also mentioned as well as a concert dedicated to the music of Vincent Persichetti, an illustrious American composer and son of a Torricellan. In fact, during the ceremony it was announced that a new association dedicated to Vincent Persichetti was being formed, based in Torricella and Falconara Marittima (more on this later).
The Torricellan in the World award had another goal, or at least an underlying hope: that those who receive the award will contribute to the rebirth of the town. Without asking for this explicitly, it happened. Gianni let the mayor know he is there to help in any way he can. He will begin by studying how to increase and speed up Internet connectivity in Torricella. He will also look into setting up a web camera, possibly on the Corso (main street), so that those surfing the net can get a virtual view of Torricella and get a glimpse of the weather at any one moment. Torricellans throughout the world will surely appreciate this.
English translation courtesy of Dan Aspromonte with the assistance of Edoardo Gentile
Photos courtesy of Antonio Piccoli di maone
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