“Attraversamenti” – A Festival in Ostuni to Promote Integration Between Italy and the Balkan Peninsula

Project location: ITALY, Ostuni
Project start date: September 2013 - Project end date: December 2013
Project number: 2013-026
Beneficiary: presentecontinuo


TIMELINE OF THIS FINAL REPORT: From 05/09/2014 to 07/09/2014




The project "Attraversamenti - Festival delle terre al di là del mare" is an initiative seeking to open communication, increase interaction and narrow the gap between Italy and the Balkan Peninsula. The three-day event in Ostuni (5-6-7 September 2014) had the purpose to lay the foundations of a bridge between East and West over the Adriatic Sea bringing to life the dialogue through culture.

The initiative aims to overcome stereotypes and preconceptions leading the way through cultural awareness and interaction, for the development of a long-lasting bond between the Balkans and Italy. The rationale behind the project is the belief that it is mainly through culture that societies evolve and are able to truly connect.


This second edition of "Attraversamenti" was devoted to the collaboration with Albania that will enter in UE in the next few years. In each section of the Festival this country was presented from a cultural point of view focusing on its culture, displaying new ideas growing in the country and its views of the future. The collaboration with Albania was sealed by a letter addressed to the Festival by Edi Rama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, which highlights the importance of culture to promote dialogue between nations. The letter was read during the opening of the Festival at the presence of the Albanian consul in Italy and the deputy mayor of Ostuni.


Attraversamenti's methodology is centred on a multilevel and multidisciplinary approach. The festival proposed a series of actions that are both multidisciplinary - going from art, design, theatre, literature, cinema, to food - and multilevel, namely activities that address the main subjects at various degrees of depth. The variety and heterogeneity of the events allowed "Attraversamenti" to address a wide and diversified audience. The grounding idea is to put together entertaining moments (music, food, cinema and art) together with deeper analysis situations maintaining a simple and direct communication modality. This methodology attains to the democratic vocation of Europe because it helps to get out of the specialist debate and get to a public that tends to feel uncomfortable with this sort of issues.


To respect these guidelines "Attraversamenti" was structured in a series of sections (Literature, Meet and Inform, Design, Theatre, Music, Art, Cinema) curated by different personalities selected to guarantee a deep and excellence knowledge of the subject. Each section took place in a different setting in order to involve the whole town: wandering through Ostuni was the way the visitors could visit the Festival and discover the beautiful "white town" of Puglia. "Attraversamenti" succeded in re-opening historical buildings, such as the Tobacco Manifactury and the Madonna del Carmine Monastery, that had been closed for decades. These places became the evocative frame work for art exhibitions and theatre peformances.

The section "Meet and Inform" was curated by Alessandro Leogrande, co-editor in chief of the magazine "Lo straniero", journalist and writer expert of Albanian contemporary history and culture. Main protagonists of the public discussions were: Roland Sejko (Albanian film director/ Anija-La nave ), Dario Zonta (journalist of Hollywood Party- Radiotre), Diana Chuli ( Albanian writer and intellectual) and Helena Janeczek (Albanian writer). This section was opened with a special panel debate on the future of information in the internet era, that was led by the creators of the new editorial project Pagina99, Emanuele Bevilacqua (publisher of Pagina99) and Luigi Spinola ( co-editor in chief of Pagina 99). The final day of Attraversamenti the debate focused on the relationship between information and organized crime through the report of two representatives of Libera Antimafia Association, Alessandro Leo and Attilio Chimienti. The discussion was held by Maurizio Distante (journalist of Il quotidiano)

Two new sections dedicated to Design and Theatre were added to the programme of the second edition of Attraversamenti.

The Theatre section took place in the restored garden of the Ex Tobacco Factory. In this magic scenario the acting company Thalassia performed the pieces "Kater I Rades" and "Non abbiate paura" written and directed by Francesco Niccolini. The pieces are inspired by a specific historical event, the mass immigration from Albania to Italy that characterized the 90s. Through the power of words Niccolini narrated the two sides of that period, the dramatic sinking of the boat Kater caused by an Italian military boat and the extraordinary hospitality of the citizens of Brindisi towards twenty thousand Albanians landed on the coast of Puglia seeking for a better future.

The Design section was curated by Luca Fois, professor of the Politecnico of Milan, and dedicated to the connection between "Water and design". The issue was explored through different methodology: the exhibition "Acqua, Terra & Design", a project by H2O association (winner of the XXIII Compasso D'Oro in the section social responsibility) featured the works of international designers, architects and graphics reflecting on water as a finite resource; a three day symposium presented a various range of opinions and a plurality of visions about design as a strategic instrument dealing with social and environmental issues. The relators of the symposium were: Cintya Concari ( president of H2O association), Roberto Marcatti (curator of H2O project), Francesco Zurlo ( professor of Polidesign and Politecnico of Milan), Giorgia Turchetto ( Fondazione Fitzcarraldo), Federico Picone ( President of Mediterranean Design Association), Piero Persico (economist), Fabiano Amati (Steering Group of the European Innovation).

In 2014 the Art Section of "Attraversamenti" presented two exhibitions "Geografie" curated by presentecontinuo and "Itaca" curated by Fondazione Pino Pascali. Geografie explored the possibility to think about geography as a subjective space where different and various points of view can exist together simultaneously. The exhibition featured videos of important Italian and international artists all over the city of Ostuni (Gea Casolaro, Maria Adela Diaz, Rä di Martino, Raffaele Fiorella, Andrea Galvani, Timea Anita Oravecz, Giovanni Ozzola, Marta Roberti, Alice Schivardi, Giuseppe Stampone, Pleurad Xhafa). Itaca took place in the Archaeological Museum of Ostuni and presented a selection of works by contemporary Italian and Albanian artists (Antonio Abbatepaolo, Iginio Iurilli, Peppino Campanella, Miki Carone, Endri Dani, Gianmaria Giannetti, Ilir Kaso, Giampiero Milella, Ergin Zaloshnja, Enkelejd Zonja).

Albania, the guest country of this edition of "Attraversamenti", was the protagonist of the Literature Section structured in a series of interviews to Albanian writers emigrated to Italy. Migena Proi, Arben Dedja and Leoreta Ndoci suggested a complex reflection on identity and multiculturalism. These themes were explored also throught a selection of films and documentary curated by Carmelo Grassi. Librinfaccia, a cultural association from Puglia, curated two special moments of the Literature Section that faced the complex issue "South Italy criticality and opportunities" as it is analyzed in the Italian contemporary fiction, particularly in the books of Stefano Crupi e Alessio Viola interviewed during the public debates. Librinfaccia developed also the presentation of the book "Critica portatile al visual design" written by Riccardo Falcinelli.

The dialogue and contamination of cultures was the main theme that characterized all the activities of "Attraversamenti", distinguishing also the food and music sections. The public had the possibility to be captivated by the accordion of Vince Abbracciante, one of the main performersof folk music from Puglia, and to be surprised by the contemporary music of the Albanian composer Admir Shkurtai. The other main protagonists of the public concert were Siamesi Brother and Bandadriatica.

The food section was curated by Buona Puglia and Slow Food. In particular Slow Food proposed typical dishes from Puglia, while Buona Puglia created street food that mixed together Italian and Albanian food traditions.

Attraversamenti succeded in pulling down the wall of what we think to know about the Balkans, in overseeing stereotypes in order to consolidate the democratic idea of Europe which is fuelled by different identities which can cooperate and live together for the best of all of us.

think global, act local
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