The city of Ravenna recently celebrated the 700th anniversary of the death of the epic poet and father of the Italian Language, Dante Alighieri. With this major event passing by and in the occasion of the third transnational meeting, participants of the VALID project took the days of September 10-13 to visit the culturally monumental city and engage in various cultural exchanges and activities, alongside partners of the event presenting their own delegations of the project. Participants included representatives of partner municipalities, local authorities of Ravenna, youth and culture groups, NGOs, artists, and interested citizens.
Looking at the activities that those involved participated in, they had plenty of opportunities to exchange amongst one another experiences such as what their respective groups are involved in and do, and special attention was paid to the theatrical and artistic side of Ravenna. The delegations had the opportunity to hear about several initiatives that the Municipality of Ravenna supports.
The “Teatro delle Albe” theater group, which is a partner of the city, presented multiple performances done by the youth of Ravenna such as plays, and the final results of a Rap Lab. This all tied further into the topic of Dante and what he means to the people of Italy. The aim of the theater troupe is to promote the local culture and bring the people of Ravenna together, and they took the time to share how they have gone about that and helped further promote the local cultural abundance. Part of the program is delegated towards the inclusion of migrants through theater, in particular, a group from Senegal, and showing that despite our differences, we can all find a shared heritage to unite us.
The participants experienced the rich culture of Ravenna
The participants experienced the rich culture of Ravenna, and explored around the city, seeing the art, and major landmarks, many preserved for hundreds of years, such as the San Francesco Basilica. Functioning as both a library and a museum, the ancient site is a piece of history in the present and houses art related to Dante and the Divine Comedy.
As part of the celebration the Valid project partners took part in the traditional reading of the Devine Comedy in front of Dante’s tomb. Several event participants read part of the Divine Comedy to the Tomb in their respective languages, with the event being livestreamed. The spectators were able to hear the lines of the famous poem in Slovenian, Macedonian, Albanian, Bosnian and Italian. It is part of a daily happening in which anyone can sign up to read part of the Divine Comedy to the tomb, restarting on a yearly basis, as the city’s gift to Dante.
Now back at home, all delegations are organizing their own local paths and working with their communities after this event to identify various community art forms and facilitate their own dialogue and exchanges for phase 2 of this third transnational meeting.
The VALID project is a bottom-up level project centered around building a strong network of towns to foster intercultural exchange and encourage intercultural dialogue and active local participation. It takes place across a period of around 2 years and involves the organization of several international events across multiple countries, this being one of the major stops. Ravenna is a very culturally rich city, and all the partners involved were able to experience that firsthand.