Capo d’Orlando and Fremantle’s cultural heritage

Capo d’Orlando in Sicily Italy is a beautiful historic seaside community of about 15,000 residents that like Fremantle is a fishing community and popular with tourists.

Capo d’Orlando is also a sister city of Fremantle and one that I have just learnt is very special to the people of Capo d’Orlando. Capo d’Orlando has an extraordinarily strong bond with Fremantle . I was told that throughout the 20th century around 8000 people from the Capo d’Orlando area came to live in the Fremantle area – shaping the Fremantle we know and love today. At dinner last night the proprietor of the restaurant said all of last six mayors have all visited his restaurant in Capo d’Orlando. It was good to be part of this tradition and I also got some copies of photos that capture this history.

My visit to Capo d’Orlando with deputy-mayor Doug Thompson and Cr John Alberti (which I must add is primarily being paid by each of us personally and NOT by the ratepayers of Fremantle) has been an extraordinary experience. The hospitality by Mayor Enzo and the Capo d’Orlando people has been extraordinarily generous and kind. Cr Alberti was known and clearly loved by everybody in town. We were here for the Blessing of the Fleet and everyone we met on the streets knows and is often related to someone who now lives in Fremantle. Our visit has caused a lot of publicity including TV coverage:

http://www.amnotizie.it/notizie/video.html?task=videodirectlink&id=4348

My visit has shown me how sister city links like this highlight Fremantle‘s unique social and cultural heritage and that is important that the City plays its part in maintaining and strengthening these bonds. I can’t think of many other places in have these clear links back to its past. We have talked to Mayor Enzo about ways in which we can facilitate education, cultural, artistic and other exchanges between Fremantle and Capo d’Orlando over coming years.

I also look forward to repaying the hospitality of the Mayor and his councillors if they are able to come to Fremantle in 2011.