Italian city hopes to capitalize on success of Gibson's 'The Passion'
Published: April 1, 2004
ROME (CNS) -- Famous for its buildings and streets carved out of a mountainside, the southern Italian city of Matera has entered the world spotlight as a setting for Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ." Now city officials and some residents want to take advantage of the movie's multimillion-dollar success to capture the kind of publicity and attention they feel the city deserves. "Gibson's movie can be a huge advertisement for Matera," said Luca Gagliardi, a public official at the city's tourism department. The city's ancient "sassi" or rock-hewn neighborhoods have been on the U.N. World Heritage List since 1993, but the city has not drawn the tourists seen in Italy's other cultural meccas, like Florence or Rome. Because the city's historic center poses a striking similarity to what Jerusalem may have looked like 2,000 years ago, Gibson chose Matera as a backdrop for several important outdoor locations. "We are using the success of the film to promote our city," Gagliardi told Catholic News Service.
Copyright (c) Catholic News Service /U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CNS news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic News Service .