Catanzaro. Magna Magna Festival, tourism can wait. In the meantime, he’s been cashed out…

Today begins the Magna Graecia festival in Catanzaro. The world of international cinema is in turmoil and Calabria has been waiting for the big event for months.

We were also so excited that we had a desire to take part in the opening of the festival or in some evening of the festival. So, we went to the official website of the festival (, where we are greeted by photos of actors awarded for 20 years of the great festival.

Russell Crowe was the first to greet us, perhaps the only one who deserves a mention considering he at least played a gig with his band. Then come the trophy-wielding revelers: Richard Gere, Oliver Stone, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Lambert, Isabella Ferrari, Pupi Avati, Pierfrancesco Favino, Tim Roth, Pamela Anderson, Michael Madsen.

And of course he is our great Gianvito Casadonte for friends of GianMelo (u figghiu i Cetto Laqualunque)who blesses us all with a dazzling smile with outstretched arms and seems to tell us… how good I am, er mejo connoisseur of Italian cinema. Fortunately, the site reminds us of so many guests who walked the red carpet of the port of Catanzaro Lido, because otherwise no one would have remembered their exploits in Calabria.

No world premieres, no world performances, just chatter and more chatter.. And then the sea, a lot of the sea. But we, getting more and more carried away, leaf through the site in search of a program and ways to participate.

Beneath the huge “Welcome to the 20th edition of MGFF” caption, another giant photo of Richard Gere hugging our Gianvito Casadonte, an almost collective hug for all of us Calabrians, is satisfying. Thank you Janvito! And finally, in large letters, the inscription LIVE TICKET appears: book a place in the arena online and for free. We click and go to the pages created by the live ticket to book the entrances to the port arena daily. One more click on tickets for the vernissage and to bitter surprise the inscription appears: “We’re sorry, but there are currently no tickets available for purchase online for this event.”

We are frustrated at not being able to take part in the first evening, but the hope of being able to take part in the following evenings remains. Let’s fast forward to July 30th and there’s always a damn fiery red lettering. Surely we will have more luck on July 31, it’s Monday, you don’t want us to find a place… let’s think, there has never been a more erroneous thought, here it is a damn red inscription, the same on Tuesdays…. Wednesday Thursday Friday . We arrive discouraged on Saturday, the day of closing, and she is always here too: “Unfortunately, there are currently no tickets for this event available to purchase online.” Sold out.

It must be the most popular event in the world as the tickets sold out in a matter of hours. With the exception of the New Year’s concert in Vienna or the Wimbledon tennis final, here we are waiting for the event of the century. Disappointment now ravages us, and, as in the tragic moments of life, an idea comes that can make our dreams come true. In the program of the event, we read about the sponsorship of some hotels in the city. You want to see that they will certainly create a positive synergy with the area and reserve places for those who come from outside and decide to stay overnight in the city.. On the other hand, it is with this mission that the region of Calabria has chosen the Festival of Magna Graecia as one of the eight events to sponsor and support. with a “small” contribution of 200 thousand euros. This is clearly stated in the Calabria region’s accompanying note to the resolution on major events funded for 2023.aims to increase extra-regional, national and international tourist attraction, to expand the reasons for travel to the destination of Calabria and to increase the possibilities of attraction, tourist attraction, entry and development of the territories of the region in an integrated optics. for the promotion of territorial marketing”.

So the aim is to attract people from outside the region, to make them come to Calabria to see the international players and create a positive economic chain. We’re not at a village fair where politicians select a few spots for themselves and friends, another good piece is posted online for the locals, and only conversations and icons are left for visiting tourists.

We think well done, finally with our president, Robertinissimo Occhiuto, who also became tourism advisor, these old parties will end and a positive synergy will be created between all the commercial activities present in the area. The strategy is successful, the mega-event is supported to bring a positive economic return for the city and the region.

Enough chatter, we take the phone and call almost all the hotels of Catanzaro Lido and the city. Everyone has a place for this weekend; when we ask if they have an agreement with the Magna Magna film festival (because now everyone calls it that, otherwise they don’t understand it …), but everyone falls from the pear tree; when we ask where we can book the entrance, no one can tell us anything.

Someone tells us that the entrance is free … someone that we can be informed … someone that there are no more places on the first day. Between words and deeds in the middle of the sea. And between Roberto Occhiuto and Casadonte gossip is in full swing and the facts are those that we describe.. If we exclude the economic return generated by the hosting of actors, directors and various personalities, then the indirect return generated by the arrival of cinema-loving tourists is practically negligible. The question to President Okkiuto arises spontaneously: Mr. President, is this how the tourist attraction of this area is created? Is this how Calabria comes and develops? Don’t you think that 200,000 euros have been thrown out the window?

PS We will return to the “artistic value” of the event in the coming days.

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