Nova Gorica and Gorizia will be European Capital of Culture 2025. The announcement of the Slovenian Committee was greeted with a roar in Piazza della Transalpina, where the inhabitants of the two border towns had gathered. The place is particularly significant since once there was a wall, which a bit like the much more important one in Berlin symbolized the division of Europe into opposing blocks.
Three other Slovenian cities remained in contention: Ljubljana, Piran and Ptuj. And a precise sign that the choice fell on Nova Gorica and Gorizia, which will allow to enhance the various aspects of a place with a complex identity, which bears the signs of Italian, Slavic and also Germanic culture, since Gorizia -Nova Gorica was for a long time, from the 15th century onwards, an important center of the Habsburg Empire.
In the past this territory was the subject of disputes and bloody conflicts. De facto annexed to the Third Reich after 1943 like the whole Adriatic coast, Gorizia was subjected to the ruthless Nazi occupation until 1945, the year in which it subdued, albeit for a short time, that of the communist partisan forces of Tito, who were intent on annexing it. to Yugoslavia and made several victims before being forced to withdraw by the Anglo-Americans. With the Paris peace treaty of 1947, the urban center remained in Italy, but a large part of the municipal territory was handed over to the Belgrade regime, on which the twin city of Nova Gorica was built.
Even previously Gorizia had been the scene of tragic events. During the First World War, when the city was under Austria-Hungary, the Italian troops conquered it in August 1916 at the cost of rivers of blood. And if the poet Vittorio Locchi celebrated that success with the poem The festival of Santa Gorizia, the song spread among the troops, although forbidden O Gorizia you are cursed, who recalled the enormous suffering and losses suffered by the Italian army for a victory that was certainly not decisive. In fact, the Austro-Hungarians took Gorizia back in 1917, after Caporetto, and our soldiers returned there only in 1918, thanks to the battle of Vittorio Veneto.
Over time, however, the wounds inflicted in Gorizia the storms of the twentieth century (we also remember the neo-Nazi massacre of Peteano, which took place in 1972 a stone’s throw from the city with three carabinieri killed) have healed. Today, among other things, the most important Italian festival of reflection on the past takes place every year: History, directed by Adriano Ossola, which plays an important role in civil confrontation even on burning issues and often hosts scholars of great international standing.
European Capital of Culture an honorary title awarded each year to two cities belonging to two different member states of the European Union. The aim of the initiative is to protect wealthand the diversity of continental culture, enhance the characteristics common to the peoples and develop a system that can generate an important economic induced. This year it was the turn of another multicultural place full of history: the Croatian city of Rijeka (Rijeka for the Slavs), designated together with the Irish Galway. Unfortunately, both had to limit their initiatives due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
For 2025 together with Nova Gorica and Gorizia, just designated by the Slovenian Committee, the choice fell on Chemnitz, a German city located almost on the border with the Czech Republic that suffered serious damage during the Second World War and was renamed Karl Marx Stadt under the communist regime of East Germany.
Today not only Gorizia and Nova Gorica have won, but Europe has won, said the mayor of the Isonzo capital, Rodolfo Ziberna, addressing the president of the Slovenian jury, immediately after the proclamation. Without doubt this is another act of the reconciliation process between Rome and Ljubljana which saw an important step last July with the meeting in Trieste between the head of state Sergio Mattarella and the Slovenian president Borut Pahor, who together paid tribute both to the slave victims of fascist nationalism and to the Italian victims of Tito’s communism.
19 December 2020 (change December 19, 2020 | 13:18)