Lampedusa Mayor Totò Martello in Rome, on September 2, 2020 | Photo: ANSA/Massimo Percossi
Lampedusa Mayor Totò Martello in Rome, on September 2, 2020 | Photo: ANSA/Massimo Percossi

A memorial and a theater will be created at a former quarry on the Italian island of Lampedusa. The memorial will be dedicated to those who have lost their lives in the Mediterranean, especially the more than 360 migrants who died in the tragic October 2013 shipwreck.

The former quarry of the Italian island of Lampedusa will host a theater and a memorial for immigrants, Totò Martello -- the island's mayor -- announced on Tuesday, February 16.

"I have always been convinced that a person's fundamental rights should include the right to culture, meant as an opportunity for knowledge and divulgation of different artistic expressions to share ideas and preserve collective memory," the mayor said. "This is why I have strongly promoted this project."

The area of the former quarry will host a "memorial on migration: a place to pause and reflect, meditate and pray, which is open to all religions and faiths", the mayor wrote on Facebook.

The area will showcase a "boat used by migrants to reach Lampedusa", he explained.

Holes will be dug into the southeastern wall of the cave to commemorate the victims of the shipwreck off Lampedusa on October 3, 2013 that left more than 360 people dead.

Lampedusa is a small Italian island located halfway between Italy and northern Africa. Because of its location, the island has become a hotspot for migrants attempting to reach Europe from Tunisia or Libya. Of all the migrants who arrived in Italy after crossing the Mediterranean in 2020, 60 % arrived on Lampedusa.

Famous architect will create theater, migrant memorial

The former quarry in Lampedusa will also host an open-air theater, where concerts, plays and cultural events will take place, Martello announced. "The Teatro Naturale della Cava (natural theater of the cave) will be a space for all people of Lampedusa, as well as a place of touristic and cultural interest that will make our marvelous island even more attractive," the mayor said.

The theater and the memorial will be designed by architect Vincenzo Latina, a former winner of the Italian gold medal in architecture. According to the mayor's Facebook post, the renovations on the site will cost €323,000.


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