On the third day, the sun cast its gentle rays upon Corigliano's serene "Fabiana Luzzi" Park, heralding the arrival of the Peace Torch. The park played host to a captivating gathering, a tapestry woven from the threads of children, youth, various associations, and parish representatives, all bound by a common purpose - the pursuit of peace.
This remarkable event served as a canvas upon which the artistic expressions of hope flourished. The park brimmed with the vibrant artwork of children, destined to grace the walls of our upcoming exhibitions. As the day unfolded, school groups took center stage, offering their voices to the chorus of peace. Their performances included heartfelt poems, resonating songs, and eloquent texts, all woven around the themes of Peace and Human Rights. These words were not plucked from thin air but drawn from the rich tapestry of Calabria's heritage, replete with anecdotes of the venerable Saint Francesco di Paola.
In the heart of it all, the Peace Torch stood as a beacon of unity and harmony, a symbol passed tenderly from hand to hand. Enthusiastic students, dedicated educators, and revered civil and religious figures all cradled its flame, embodying the collective aspiration for a more peaceful world.
Among the illustrious attendees who graced the occasion were:
- Alessia Alboresi\, Councilor for Public Education of the Municipality of Corigliano-Rossano.
- Adriana Grispo\, the visionary Coordinator behind this remarkable project.
- Mario Gallo\, the diligent Secretary to the Colors for Peace Presidency.
- Alfredo De Joannon\, the esteemed President of Peace Run Italia.
- Valentina Pagliai\, the guiding light Responsible for Educational Projects at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Italy.
This experience at "Fabiana Luzzi" Park was a jubilant symphony of peace, where diverse voices harmonized to spread a message of unity and hope. It served as a poignant reminder of the immense power that community and collaboration hold in shaping a world that breathes peace.
On the second leg of our journey on that eventful third day, we found ourselves in Trebisacce, a town that opened its heart to the Peace Caravan. A sea of eager faces greeted us, as approximately 400 children from primary and lower secondary schools gathered to embrace the message of peace.
Stepping forward to accept the symbolic Peace Torch were Mayor Alex Aurelio, joined by the Councilor for Culture, Tania Roseti, and the representative of the Municipality of Monte Giordano, Domenico Lufrano. The atmosphere was charged with youthful energy as a children's choir lent their voices to the occasion, filling the air with songs that celebrated peace.
In a powerful gesture, the civil authorities penned their commitment to the cause by signing the manifesto, boldly titled "Calabria Terra di Pace e Fratellanza" (Calabria, Land of Peace and Brotherhood).
Our assembly of inspiring speakers included Roberto Cannizzaro, Councilor of the Municipality of Tarsia, whose words resonated with the audience. Adriana Grispo, the Program Coordinator, added depth to the event with her insights. Alfredo De Joannon, President of Peace Run Italia, and Mario Gallo, Secretary to the Colors for Peace Presidency, shared their wisdom and vision with all present.
Behind the scenes, the event's seamless organization was made possible by the invaluable collaboration of Giuseppe Solazzo, the Headmaster of Trebisacce. His dedication ensured that every element of this day was executed with excellence.
In Trebisacce, the torch of peace ignited hearts and minds, leaving an indelible mark on all who gathered. It was a testament to the transformative power of unity and shared purpose, a beacon lighting the way toward a more peaceful and harmonious world.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, marking the close of the third day, our journey led us to a captivating destination: Vaccarizzo Albanese. Nestled on the northern side of the Sila Greca, on the gentle slopes of the Serra Crista d'Acri (1125 m), this enchanting town stands as a testament to cultural preservation.
At its heart lies the vibrant Albanian community of Italy, known as "arbëreshë," a place where tradition runs deep. Here, the ancient Albanian language, "arbërisht," still weaves its lyrical threads through daily life. The town proudly dons the vestiges of typical traditional clothing and adheres to the Byzantine rite, all under the watchful gaze of the eparchy of Lungro.
Vaccarizzo, a municipality of approximately a thousand souls, was born from the ashes of history. It sprouted its roots around 1470, a time marked by the passing of the Albanian national hero, Giorgio Castriota Scanderbeg (1468), and the relentless advance of the Ottoman Turks into the Balkan peninsula. It became a sanctuary for groups of refugees who sought solace on the hills of Pre-Greek Sila. Among these pioneers, they founded not only Vaccarizzo but also the neighboring hamlets of San Demetrio Corone, Macchia Albanese, San Giorgio Albanese, San Cosmo Albanese, Santa Sofia d'Epiro, and Spezzano Albanese.
In Vaccarizzo, we were welcomed with open arms by the honorable Mayor Antonio Pomillo and the Vicar of the Albanian Church in Calabria, Pietro Lanza. The Mayor, inspired by the vision of peace, placed his signature upon the manifesto, thus affirming the commitment of Vaccarizzo to "Calabria Land of Peace and Brotherhood."
Our gathering was graced by a lineup of distinguished speakers, each lending their unique voice to the chorus of peace:
- Roberto Cannizzaro\, Councilor of the Municipality of Tarsia\, shared his heartfelt sentiments.
- Adriana Grispo\, the dedicated Program Coordinator\, added depth to our discussions.
- Mario Gallo\, Secretary to the Presidency of Colors for Peace\, brought his wisdom to the forefront.
- Antonio Giannelli\, President of Colors for Peace\, offered his perspective.
- Alfredo De Joannon\, President of Peace Run Italia\, shared his vision for a harmonious world.
In Vaccarizzo Albanese, amidst the timeless echoes of tradition and the warmth of community, our day came to a close. It was a moment where past and present converged, reminding us that the pursuit of peace is a journey, one that we undertake together, bound by a shared sense of purpose and a commitment to brotherhood.