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H.S.H. the Prince’s visit to Calabria 7 and 8 November 2022

H.S.H. Prince Albert II visited Reggio Calabria on Monday 7 November. Welcomed at the airport by the province's civil and military authorities, as well as by H.E. Mrs Anne Eastwood, Monaco's Ambassador to Italy, the Honorary Consul of Monaco in Naples, Mr Mariano Bruno, and the Prefect of the region, Mr Massimo Mariani, the Prince immediately visited the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Reggio di Calabria). Founded in 1882, this museum presents an important collection of items found at various archaeological sites in the coastal regions of southern Italy and Sicily.

During the visit, the Sovereign, accompanied by Massimo Mariani, Prefect of the Region, Paolo Brunetti, Mayor of the city, Roberto Occhiuto, President of the Region, and Carmelo Malacrino, Director of the Museum, was able to visit the temporary exhibition entitled "L'età degli Eroi, la Magna Grecia e i Bronzi di Riace". Then, after a stroll through the museum, the Prince admired the two bronze statues known as the Riace Bronzes: world-famous sculptural masterpieces that are the most important attraction of the museum. The year 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of these two bronzes found off the coast of Riace, probably at the site of a shipwreck in ancient times.

At the end of the day, the Prince went to the Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria (Università degli Studi "Mediterranea" di Reggio Calabria) to receive the diploma of Doctor Honoris Causa. Welcomed by the rector, Mr Giuseppe Zimbalatti, the Sovereign was first invited to don the doctoral students' robes. He then went to the "Aula Magna" hall where the ceremony began with the playing of the Italian and Monegasque national anthems. Following the speeches given by the rector, the President of the region, Mr Roberto Occhiuto, and by the senior dignitaries of the University, H.S.H. the Prince gave a speech expressing his emotion at receiving this honorary distinction and thanking the Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria. He was then awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa in Forestry and Environmental Sciences; a distinction awarded for His actions for the preservation of biodiversity, sustainable development and the fight against global warming, particularly in the Mediterranean, in His capacity as Head of State and President of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. The ceremony ended with an aperitif in the presence of academic, public, regional and local authorities as well as the Monegasque delegation.

In the evening, the Prince and His delegation attended a gala dinner at the Villa Fenice for the benefit of the Prince Albert II Foundation (FPA2), organised by the President of the Italian branch of FPA2, Mr Marco Colasanti.

H.S.H. Prince Albert II continued His visit to Calabria on Tuesday 8 November in Gerace, a medieval village located in the Aspromonte Park. Welcomed by Mr Rudi Lizzi, First Deputy Mayor, He unveiled the plaque at the entrance to the village indicating that it belongs to the network of "Grimaldi Historical Sites of Monaco". He then went to the Town Hall where He met the village's elected representatives before presiding over the laying of the plaque commemorating His visit. The Sovereign Prince continued His journey on foot to the Greek-Byzantine crypt of the Cathedral of Gerace and then to the diocesan museum. At the Chiesa di San Francisco d'Assisi, H.S.H. the Prince received honorary citizenship.

In Canolo Nuova, a small village of 700 inhabitants, the Prince, along with His delegation and the Mayor of Canolo Nuova, Mr Francesco Larosa, as well as the President of the Aspromonte National Park, Mr Leo Autelitano, took part in a rustic lunch prepared by the park's shepherds. Welcomed by the sound of the zampogna (an ancient bagpipe with four pipes, still used in Italy), the guests enjoyed regional specialities.

The afternoon was devoted to a visit to Cittanova, a town in the province of Reggio Calabria. On His arrival, the Sovereign was welcomed by the Mayor, Mr Francesco Cosentino, and unveiled the plaque at the entrance to the village, indicating that it belongs to the network of "Grimaldi Historical Sites of Monaco". Later, at the Town Hall, he attended the unveiling of the plaque commemorating His visit. The Prince and his entourage then walked along the streets and alleys to meet the numerous inhabitants before discovering the Chiesa Madre di Cittanova built from 1785 onwards thanks to Maria Antonia Grimaldi Serra, daughter of the Princess of Gerace Maria Teresa Grimaldi who died during the earthquake of 1783.

After paying His respects at the tomb of Princess Maria Teresa Grimaldi, the Prince continued His journey on foot to the former Grimaldi Palace via Via Grimaldi. He then visited the Villa Comunale Carlo Ruggiero park before going to the Teatro Rocco Gentile where He received honorary citizenship of the municipality.

The municipalities of Gerace, Cittanova and Molochio, were part of the ancient principality of Gerace, which belonged to the Grimaldis of Genoa, a collateral branch of the Monegasque branch, between the 16th and 18th centuries.

The day ended with a dinner offered by the Prince to the mayors of Gerace, Cittanova and Molochio as well as to the regional and local authorities in order to thank them for the extremely warm and friendly welcome given to Him at each of His stops.

On Wednesday 9 November, for his last stop in Southern Italy, H.S.H. the Prince went to Molochio, a municipality in the province of Reggio Calabria located in the heart of the Aspromonte region. After unveiling the plaque at the entrance to the village indicating that it belongs to the network of "Grimaldi Historic Sites of Monaco", the Sovereign and His delegation were taken to the Belvedere Catorella, which offers a magnificent panorama of the Aspromonte National Park (part of the Unesco Global Geoparks network). The viewpoint allowed the Sovereign to contemplate an important part of the ancient territory of the Grimaldis of Gerace, in particular the towns of Molochio, Terranova and Cittanova.

At the old forest lodge, the Prince took part in the presentation by H.E. Mrs Anne Eastwood, Ambassador of Monaco to Italy, of a defibrillator donated by Barclays Bank Monaco to the Mayor, Mr Marco Caruso, and the President of the Aspromonte National Park, Mr Leo Autelitano. On the occasion of the Prince's visit, a tree was planted in the park.

On the way back to Molochio, the Prince and His delegation stopped to admire the magnificent Mundu e Galasia waterfalls.

On His return to Molochio, H.S.H. the Prince met the elected representatives of the municipality at the Town Hall where He unveiled a plaque commemorating His visit. He then took part in a ceremony organised in the village square during which the mayor made Him an honorary citizen. The population came in great numbers to greet the Prince and to thank Him for His presence in this small commune of 2,400 inhabitants.

Later, the Sovereign visited the Sanctuary of Maria Santissima Immacolata di Lourdes, the first Italian sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary of Lourdes, which has been the object of great popular devotion since its origin. Built from 1890 onwards according to the wishes of Father Francesco Zagari of Scilla and blessed in 1901, the shrine was built next to a convent of Capuchin friars and placed under their responsibility. Two of them accompanied the Prince during His visit.

The Prince’s visit to Calabria ended with a cocktail reception offered by the municipality during which H.S.H. the Prince and His delegation enjoyed regional specialities.


H.S.H. the Prince’s visit to Calabria 7 and 8 November 2022