60 years of Unpli, La Spina: “Projected into the future”

Conference center of the Ergife Palace Hotel in Rome dressed up for the 60 years of Unpli, the National Union of Pro Loco of Italy. The hall was packed with delegates from all over Italy, who braved the pouring rain of the Capitoline morning to gather in a moment of celebration. With the conduction of the godmother of the event Adriana Volpe, the host spoke at the opening President Antonino La Spina: “When you celebrate birthdays, you do it with the people you want close to you. I thank the institutions present here, from politics to associations. The day will be intense, together with all the Pro Loco of Italy we are also connected in live streaming so as to be able to reach the over one million volunteers that we can boast in our ranks”.

The number one of Unpli continued with the dutiful historical nods to the dawn and with the numbers referring to the present: “In 1881 we started from Trentino Alto Adige, up to an expansion throughout Italy – thanks to a synergy with the institutions – such as to bring our numbers beyond 6,300 locations. We process over 80 million visitors during our operations and this gives the scale and measure of the work we must continue to do. Now it’s time to project ourselves into the future after two difficult years”.

President La Spina then addressed an emotional greeting to the territorial realities of Ischia, recently overwhelmed by the tragedy related to the collapses: “Today we are also here to join Casamicciola, which is experiencing dramatic moments. The Pro Loco – as happened in the Marche a few months ago – will show love, closeness and support in this very complicated moment. The closeness to the institutions characterizes us in every part of Italy”.

At the opening, wishes came via video from Enrico Toti, President of the Liguria Region: ”60 years represent a great milestone. Best wishes to the Pro Loco of Italy, who know how to promote our beauties and the peculiar singularities of our country while also managing to fight the cumbersome bureaucracy that characterizes us. I wish you at least another sixty years of help and support for citizens, in the same way as has been done since your foundation”.

Even the Veneto Region wanted to send its hug through the President Luca Zaia: “I’m sorry I’m not there physically, but at least I had to send you the video. I want to thank you because you have been in the area for 60 years. I start right from my Venetians, who have always known how to enhance the excellence of our territory, from typical foods, to culture and villages. Our excellences, from Venice, the walled cities, Lake Garda, the Dolomites. All these elements have rhymed with Pro Loco for sixty years”.

The President of the Senate Ignazio La Russa instead sent a letter, read on stage by Adriana Volpe. These are the words of the second state official: “Institutional commitments prevented me from being here but I want to congratulate all the members of the Pro Loco for the strategic work in the vital sector of tourism: safeguarding, promoting and informing are certainly your core values”.

Ample space then on the stage for the intervention of the Minister of Sport Andrea Abodi: “For me the Pro Loco is a memory referring to the summer and to a time to be able to live closer to one’s parents. Seeing it transformed in this practical and representative sense has a great effect on me. The ministry entrusted to me has no portfolio and there is nothing more false, given the human heritage that you represent, as well as these guys behind me who are the very driving force behind your presence”.

“I am referring to the Civil Service, which makes me feel like a very rich minister, given that in life it is important to have a portfolio of values, rather than a package of money to invest as an institution. The sense of commitment always remains. Many departments – he said added – they will accompany your work, but I can guarantee you that the one presided over by me will be the one that will be closest to you. The daily garrison of your association refers to “normal days” rather than “special ones” as this holiday can be ” .

“The responsibility of politics – he observed – is to give more dignity to your commitment, which has created a willing, stubborn and generous family. We have an extraordinary and transparent ability to bring out our flaws; we should try to have the same diligence in pointing out the things that are going in the right direction. I see the present and the future: strengthening perspectives by instilling trust is not a secondary fact. These days represent an opportunity to underline – for once – something that is going right. Unpli has a soul and it shows. It is not just a question of conservation, but of promotion and testimony. This language is not only valid for the national community but can also be exported internationally. We have learned in recent years the importance of physical immune defenses due to the pandemic; the time has come for us to learn the importance of social immunity: I don’t understand why in the last ten years we have reduced our social status. Culture and sport are central to the improvement of the quality of life: I renew my commitment in this sense by taking an example from your organization”.

After the institutional greetings, President La Spina opened the second chapter of the day, namely the one focused on third sector reformAnd. The introduction and moderation were entrusted to Gabriele Sepio, editorialist of Il Sole 24 Ore. Speakers in order were Alessandro Lombardi (General Manager of the Third Sector of Corporate Social Responsibility at the Ministry of Labour), Luigi Bobba (President of the Terzjus Foundation Third Sector Law Observatory), Vanessa Pallucchi (Third Sector Forum Spokesperson) and Chiara Tommasini (President of Csv-Net).

Shortly before the final celebrations, the Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini spoke on stage, wanting to give his applause to the sixty years of life of the Unpli, indicating some focal points of the influence of the Italian Pro Loco on our territory: “I would like know how it is possible that balsamic vinegar of Modena is produced in Slovenia – says Salvini – You of the Pro Loco are guarantors of the preservation of some of our real uniqueness. Every year, several billion euros are unduly stolen from our entrepreneurs by fake brands that appropriate the good name of our original products”.