NEWS » Matera - the new European capital of culture

Matera - the new European capital of culture

Matera is the European capital of culture. The City, shortlisted with Ravenna, Cagliari, Lecce, Perugia and Siena won the title with 7 votes out of 13.

Matera is the first city in the South of Italy to be awarded the title after the other Italian cities in the centre and north, Firenze in 1986 and Genoa in 2008.

The European capital of culture was created in 1985 to promote the EU member state’s historical cultural and artistic awareness. The title is assigned every year to two member states. In 2019, the other European capital of culture will be Plovdiv in Bulgaria.

To be selected cities should prepare a cultural programme with a strong European dimension, which fosters the participation of citizens in the city, its neighbourhood and the whole country. The programme must have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term cultural and social development of the city.

The process for selecting a European Capital of Culture begins with a pre-selection phase after which an initial shortlist of bidding cities is drawn up. The final selection takes place nine months later. The city chosen by the panel is then officially designated by the EU's Council of Ministers. The panel assessing the cities is made up of 13 independent cultural experts - six appointed by the Member State and seven by the European institutions.

The short listed Italian cities  have reasoned on a long-term project planned in the years in a series of events of restoration, recovery and project proposals. The Italian government will support all cities to implement the programs required.

Matera is well known for its historical centre called  Sassi, considered  world Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1993, along with the Park of the “rupestre” Churches. From the ‘50s onwards Matera has become an important place for experimentation and innovation. It attracted great filmmakers, such as Pasolini who filmed there “Il vangelo secondo Matteo”, and important artists. Matera has made great efforts in becoming the first city in the South of Italy to be included as a World Heritage site. It is now one of the most outstanding cities of art to visit. Although Matera is a city which has implemented a number of important regeneration schemes, it has not exploited its enormous cultural potential to the full. As European capital of culture  Matera’s goal will be to become one of the main cities for attracting both tourists and valuable mobile resources (talents and creative industries). Matera aims to create a cultural space which is truly “open” to welcome the whole of Europe.    

Giulia Lombardo

»Back to: NEWS