Italy has a unique asset in its enormous cultural heritage built over more than 30 centuries ago, which harmoniously connects our ancient cities, museums, churches, archaeological sites and the buildings of our historical centers embedded in the landscape. The landscape is the image, or the mirror, of reason and as such, it entails — for those who work there, erect buildings, build squares, streets and schools therefore changing the outlook — an intimate participation in the right to enjoy it, to rejoice in it and appreciate its beauty.
The devastation of much of the landscape and the cities, especially in the South, is, unfortunately, proof that the recognition and production of beauty are activities that citizens, especially in the South, have not exercised, understood and internalized for too long. The citizens and leaders of the South have not understood yet (they have not wanted to understand) that with the disappearance of the landscape and the ancient cities, a fundamental psychological nexus of identity formation came unhinged. The stability of a place ensures for society a sense of perpetuity, able to maintain the individual and collective identity.
In a cultural climate in which aesthetic values tend to be anti-functional and uneconomical because they cannot be measured in terms of efficiency and economics, the fact that one of the Southern cities, Matera, has been chosen as the European culture capital instills hope in us Southerners.