Taormina in the spotlight: Sicily’s noble but risky plan to host the G7

Donald Trump and other G7 leaders fulfill in Taormina today. How will this currently tourist-choked town popular for its charm and ancient ruins cope?

Tucked away on a natural balcony in between rocks and water in Sicilys east coast, the historical town of Taormina is acquiring worldwide status as it gets ready for an approaching international occasion.

The little seaside town, which rests on a hill 206 metres above water level ignoring Mount Etna, has actually constantly brought in visitors. When explained by Ernest Hemingway as being so quite it harms to look at it, it was. Celebs such as Eva Gardner and commemorated authors like DH Lawrence were drawn to Taormina and its ancient ruins the theatre ignoring the sea goes back to the 3rd century BC. Now, its such a mass-market traveler location that the town has actually practically lost its initial beauty.

But from 26-27 May Taormina will be inviting a somewhat various market. Sicilys pearl of the Ionian Sea is hosting the 2017 G7 top, generating world leaders consisting of Donald Trump and the brand-new French president Emmanuel Macron. Previous Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi picked this town over the favored Florence in order to relaunch Sicily, understood for high joblessness rates and brain drain.

Taorminas geographical position in the Mediterranean and Sicilys important function in Italys technique to migrants is especially symbolic as the refugee crisis will be among the subjects on this years G7 program. And undoubtedly, its archeological and natural charms make it the best scene to promote Italys image abroad

Taormina in numbers

10,960 residents in the town

392 BC the date when individuals very first settled in Taormina

6,000 accommodations for travelers

12 first-class high-end hotels

1.1 million travelers in general in 2016

and images

Local professional photographer Andrea Strazzeri was the very first individual to take a drone image of Taorminas ancient Greek theatre covered in snow last winter season. Through my images, I desire individuals whove never ever gone to Taormina feel the very same feelings I feel whenever I browse my city, Strazzeri states.

Andrea Strazzeris picture of Taorminas theatre utilizing a drone. Photo: Andrea Strazzeri

History in 100 words

Taormina was initially established by the Sicels, then soaked up by the neighboring Greek city of Naxos in the 4th century BC. As a Magna Graecia nest, the city lived an extended period of success prior to being dominated by the Romans. Quickly a Byzantine province, it was the last Sicilian fortress to fall under the Islamic empire. After the Arab conquest came the French, who brought back the Christian religious beliefs. Following years of chaos throughout the Middle Ages and a sluggish financial decrease under Spanish dominance, Taormina was discovered as a Grand Tour location for Romantic age authors in the 19th century, increasing the citys popularity.

Taormina in noise and vision

Taormina is well-known for hosting numerous music and movie celebrations throughout the year. Lots of global artists have actually carried out inside Taorminas Greek theatre throughout the summer season, from Elton John to Duran Duran.

Since 1983, Taormina Arte has actually been arranging annual arts occasions. Amongst those, the most popular is the Taormina Film Festival . For 20 years it likewise hosted the David di Donatello Award, the Italian variation of the Academy Awards.

La Repubblica

, the American secret service has actually asked the city to expand the street from the heliport to the G7 conference location Hotel San Domenico, which is considered too little for Trumps motorcade. Regional authorities are hurrying to renovate the street to please their requirements, however it will be difficult to broaden it enough.Urban enhancements ahead of the worldwide conference began far too late, inning accordance with Italian media and some residents. Theyve been burning the midnight oil to enhance streets for security, hurrying towards the ending time and triggering traffic and issues, states Gerhard Schuler, owner of Villa Schuler, among Taorminas very first hotels established in 1905. He states many individuals concur that hosting G7 was a dangerous however honorable concept, as Sicilys regional administration was not prepared to welcome such a substantial endeavour. Even the mayor, Eligio Giardina, was fretted the G7 might become an international mess and offer Taormina a bad image.


Whats next for the city?

Last March, Taorminas city administration required 4.8 m from the tourist profits of the Greek theatre formally part of the larger archeological park complex of Naxos to the local administration. The City of Taormina declares it hasn’t gotten that due quantity, and means to bring the case to court, or theyll develop their own independent archeological park once the G7 top is over, the mayor revealed.

After the G7, Taormina will have time to work and breathe on offering curated and tidy archeological websites for daily travelers, and not simply in emergency situation circumstances like the G7, states Mariarita Sgarlata, accessory teacher of Christian and Medieval archeology at the University of Catania. The next action will be beginning the application procedure to end up being a Unesco World Heritage Site a status that had actually been rejected in 2016, however can still be reassessed in case of reapplication which might enhance Taorminas global status, Sgarlata includes.

With the local elections set up for next November, and Taorminas regional elections in 2018, the archeological websites management might end up being an essential point for public law dispute.

Close zoom

Giulio Grecos Instagram account assists both immigrants and residents find the concealed charms of this Mediterranean pearl. TaorminaToday , a regional online paper, is the very best source to learn more about whats occurring in the area. Otherwise, asking the group of retired guys who rest on a bench in Taorminas primary square every early morning, who understand whatever and everybody, is the very best method to obtain to understand the city.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/may/22/taormina-spotlight-sicily-g7-donald-trump

Italian priest blames earthquakes on gay civil unions

Italian priest blames earthquakes on gay civil unions

Vatican rebukes Fr Giovanni Cavalcoli after he claims deadly quakes are divine punishment for the offence of civil unions

An Italian priest has angered the Vatican after claiming the earthquakes that have shaken the country killing hundreds and leaving thousands homeless were divine punishment for gay civil unions.

Fr Giovanni Cavalcoli, a theologian known for his hardline views, made the comments on 30 October, the day central Italy was struck by a 6.6-magnitude quake – the most powerful to hit the country in 36 years.

It was the third major quake in the region in just over two months.

Cavalcoli told Radio Maria that the seismic shocks were divine punishment for the offence to the family and the dignity of marriage, in particular through civil unions.

Italy is one of the last western European countries to legally recognise same-sex relationships, having introduced legislation last month to allow gay civil unions.

The radio station distanced itself from Cavalcolis views and the Vatican has issued a stinging rebuke, saying the idea of a vengeful God was a pagan vision dating from the pre-Christian era.

Archbishop Angelo Becciu, number two in the Vaticans powerful secretariat of state, said Cavalcolis comments were offensive to believers and disgraceful for non-believers.

Becciu asked for forgiveness from quake victims and reminded them they had the solidarity and support of Pope Francis.

However, Cavalcoli refused to back down, insisting to another radio station that earthquakes were caused by the sins of man and telling the Vatican to read their catechism.

It is not the first time comments by members of the Italian clergy have embarrassed the Catholic church.

Last month a priest was suspended from his parish in Trento after apparently defending paedophilia during a live TV interview, arguing that children often seek affection. Fr Gino Flaim of the San Giuseppe and Pio X parish claimed he understands paedophilia but added, Im not sure about homosexuality.

When asked to explain his comments he told the La7 channel: Paedophilia is a sin, and like all sins has to be accepted also. He went on to describe homosexuality as a disease.

Following his suspension the priest said his words do not represent the positions of Trento archdiocese and the general sentiment of the parish.

In 2012 another Italian priest sparked outrage by delivering a Christmas message that claimed women were to blame for mens violence towards them because they wore filthy clothes and served cold suppers.

Fr Piero Corsi put a leaflet on his churchs noticeboard in San Terenzio, north-west Italy, asserting that 118 women killed by men in Italy that year only had themselves to blame.

Is it possible that men have turned crazy all of a sudden? We dont believe so. The point is that more and more women provoke, fall into arrogance, believe [themselves] to be independent and exacerbate tensions, the leaflet read.

Children are left outside alone, homes are dirty, meals are served cold clothing is filthy. They [women] trigger the worst instincts leading to violence and sexual abuse. They should do a self-examination and think: did we ask for it?

The priest received a torrent of abuse after a scan of the leaflet was posted online, and his Facebook account was closed.

Senior religious figures distanced the church from Corsis comments and he was forced to resign.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/05/italian-priest-blames-earthquakes-on-gay-civil-unions

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Vatican bans Catholics from keeping ashes of loved ones at home

Cremation guidelines state remains cannot be scattered or kept at home but rather stored in a sacred, church-approved place

Catholics are forbidden from keeping the ashes of cremated loved ones at home, scattering them, dividing them between family members or turning them into mementoes, the Vatican has ruled.

Ashes must be stored in a sacred place, such as a cemetery, according to instructions disclosed at a press conference in Rome on Tuesday.

Acknowledging that an increasing number of Catholics were opting for cremation rather than burial, the churchs doctrinal and disciplinary body warned against new ideas contrary to the churchs faith.

Cardinal Gerhard Mller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reiterated that burial of the dead was preferable to cremation.

We come from the earth and we shall return to the earth, he said. The church continues to incessantly recommend that the bodies of the dead be buried either in cemeteries or in other sacred ground.

Cardinal Gerhard Mller outlines Catholic cremation guidelines at a press conference in Rome. Photograph: Giuseppe Lami/EPA

However, the increase in cremation since it was permitted in 1963 required new guidelines, he added, noting an increasing trend for domestic conservation.

Ashes must be kept in a holy place, that is a cemetery or a church or in a place that has been specifically dedicated to this purpose. The conservation of ashes in the home is not allowed, he said.

Furthermore, in order to avoid any form of pantheistic or naturalistic or nihilistic misunderstanding, the dispersion of ashes in the air, on the ground, on water or in some other way as well as the conversion of cremated ashes into commemorative objects is not allowed.

A bishop may allow ashes to be kept at home only in extraordinary cases, the instructions state.

Some people keep the ashes of loved ones in urns or special containers on display, while others prefer to scatter them in gardens of remembrance or favourite spots. Possibilities include mixing them with clay, concrete or paint to create works of art or to incorporate them into building projects, having ashes pressed into vinyl to make a musical memento, or turning them into fireworks or jewellery.

The Vatican document, Ad Resurgendum cum Christo, is dated 15 August and says Pope Francis approved it in March. The instructions were released before All Souls Day on 2 November, when the faithful remember and pray for the dead.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/25/vatican-bans-catholics-cremation-ashes-loved-ones-home


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