Agrigento capital of culture 2025, risk of flop amid controversy and delays

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It is not a Pirandellian comedy, as one would logically believe, but a piece from the theater of the absurd. This is what comes to mind when looking at the “construction site” of Agrigento, the Italian capital of culture for 2025. We are almost at the beginning of 2024 and it is still chaos, so to speak. The mayor of Agrigento Franco Micciché tries to express optimism but there are many issues to be resolved in a matter that has become increasingly complicated with the passage of time. One question above all: from 31 March, the day of the proclamation of Agrigento as capital of culture 2025, it took almost eight months for the Agrigento city council to vote on the statute of the Agrigento 2025 Participation Foundation which will have to manage all the events but the the games are not yet over given that the votes of the Empedocle University Consortium and the Municipality of Lampedusa (both indicated as partners in the proposal subsequently approved) are still missing. «In the next few days we will go to the notary and then proceed with the appointment of the Board of Directors: from January 1, 2024 we will be operational» says the mayor. But the mayor knows very well that the road is not at all smooth in this matter characterized by vetoes, political controversies, pressures and claims from the Cencelli textbook.

Almost a month ago the municipal council of Agrigento, after having received the green light from various regional and national political representatives, approved the statute of the Foundation with some substantial cuts: the MeNo foundation, which drew up the project on the basis of the preparatory work done by the promoting committee, was excluded from the list of founding members and the item which provided for the identification of the general director of the Agrigento 2025 foundation in the person of the technician who drew up the candidacy dossier, Roberto Albergoni, was excluded, reporting the appointment to Board of directors which will be composed (when the Statute has the notarial seal) of 9 people. «I’m calm – says Albergoni – and I think that already in January we will be in a position to be able to work. In recent months we have not stood still: we have worked to create the right conditions to do everything on time.”

We will see. Because in the meantime the statute must be approved by the Municipality of Lampedusa and the university consortium and a minimal change risks setting the clock back a month. Not only that: the president of the University Consortium Nenè Mangiacavallo is on extended leave and can only deal with urgent documents. «I will ask the notary if it will be possible to proceed with a simple acknowledgment of the other shareholders» says the mayor of Agrigento. Mangiacavallo, who was president of the promoting committee, however raises questions of a different nature: «What is missing – he says – is the system: no preparatory work for the reception has been done. We are behind on the fundraising front. In short, everything still needs to be done. This is why I say that it is necessary to get around a table and rediscover the right spirit for a collective commitment.” All this while concern is growing especially among entrepreneurs: the application dossier envisaged works (underway or to be carried out) for a total of almost 150 million but above all it gave a projection of tourism growth of 30% compared to 2019 (394,191 arrivals, 1,129 .987 attendance). «We need to work on a complex project and we are still bogged down in the constitution of the Foundation – says Vittorio Messina, president of Assoturismo Confesercenti -. We run the risk of making a bad impression: we will sue the political class for damages.”

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