SIX ITALIAN CITIES Cagliari, Lecce, Matera, Perugia, Ravenna and Siena SHORTLISTED FOR EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE 2019!

Six Italian cities made the first cut for the competition European Capital of Culture 2019: Siena, Lecce, Ravenna, Perugia, and Cagliari. Sofia has been collaborating with each of the cities for a long time. Besides the bilateral memoranda for cooperation in the areas of culture and education, signed with several of the cities on the list, Sofia has also been working on joint projects with Siena, for example. The two cities are partners in the project SmartCulture, funded by the 7th Framework Program of the EC. Sofia will be hosting a partner meeting of the project consortium on November 21 and 22. Prof. PierLuigi Sacco, Director of Siena 2019, will also attend the meeting. Prof. Sacco will also deliver a presentation in the second module of the Regional Academy for Cultural Management, organized and conducted jointly by Sofia Municipality and Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. Ravenna was one of the first partners of Sofia in the competition for the European Capital of Culture 2019. The two cities organized many joint conferences and initiatives. Last year Ravenna mosaics were exhibited in Sofia and inspired Bulgarian students to develop creative interpretations of the works. The friends of Sofia, Alberto Cassani and Nadia Carboni have visited Sofia on many occasions, and representatives of Sofia Development Association have travelled to Ravenna as well. 

For the third year in a row, Sofia has been involved in the Festival of the city of Matera, Materadio. Last year, guests of the Festival were the journalist from Darik Radio Kiril Valchev and the young performers from Sofia Soloists. This year Denitsa Lozanova from Sofia Development Association was part of the initiative. The Director of Matera 2019, Paolo Veri has been a frequent guest in Sofia, and the cooperation between the cities aims well beyond the 2019 competition. A close friend from Matera is also Tizianna Carlino who was Director of the Bulgarian-Italian chamber of commerce for many years in Sofia. She has returned to Matera already, but she has remained a good partner of Sofia. There is also a memorandum for cooperation between Sofia and Perugia, and the two cities have planned joint initiatives and exchange of artists for the next several years.

The team of Sofia 2019 congratulates the Italian cities shortlisted for European Capital of Culture 2019. Their commitment to the initiative is strong and well-prepared. Each of the cities is a worthy candidate and will make a remarkable capital of culture. We strongly hope that Sofia will continue this fruitful cooperation with the Italian cities also after December 12, when the international jury will announce the shortlisted Bulgarian cities.

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