The 18 day of July was presented in Scutari, in the city that gave him birth, in the far 1861, the book written by Giacinto Simini, entitled ALBANIA, Journey to the land of eagles , and published for the first time in Rome, by the publisher Capitelli in the 1932.
The presentation took place in the Library of the University of Scutari, (also named after Luigi Gurakuqi, his nephew). The moderator was Professor Eliana Lacej (Institute of Roman Studies), who organized the whole, speakers professors Nevila Dibra (Geography), Alma Hafizi (Romanism), Dr. Bendis Kraja (History), have also spoke a representative of the Municipality of Scutari, the young doctoral student Marsel Frejaj, to whom the realization of this event is due, the dr. Lucjen Bedeni director of the photographic museum Marubi and the undersigned.
Numerous university professors were present in the public, as well as the former rector and current chancellor of the University, as well as prof. Ahmet Osja, botanist, academician of Albania and former agriculture minister of the Sali Berisha government, and three television stations.
The dott. Bedeni has also shown a photographic film with images of Gennaro Simini, the doctor and his son Giacinto, supplying many details of the Simini family, related to their stay in Albania, many of which are unknown to me.
Unfortunately, my lack of knowledge of the Albanian did not allow me to grasp all that was said and my kind interpreter was struggling to keep up with the speakers, who, speaking to an Albanian public, proceeded quickly. They were also given time limits, not due to the University, but to the desire of Mrs. Voltana Ademi, mayor of Scutari, (beautiful for other) to meet us in the Town Hall. He had not been able to be present at the event, like his deputy mayor, although he wanted it, because the Municipality was subjected to a verification by the central government.
Many beautiful and important things have been said about the book. The need strongly emerged for it to be translated into Albanian, to make it adoptable in universities and even in schools.
The television stations broadcast this event for two consecutive days at various times, they told me that all of Shkodra was talking about it.
So far the close chronicle! But let me now express my feelings and my emotions.
My heart was already beating before I left. I have heard of Scutari since I was a child and dreamed of going there one day, but then it was not possible, there was the communist regime of Enver Hoxha that did not allow exchanges of any kind, then after the collapse anarchy. Three years ago I went to Tirana with my Liceo, the Orazio Flacco, from Bari, I visited Kruja, Apollonia, Butrinto, but Scutari was not in the program and it wasn't really close.
That journey was already a source of great emotions, but nothing comparable to this.
My daughter Francesca Pellicoro accompanied me and we enjoyed the splendid hospitality of the Capuchin friars, who in Scutari have a beautiful convent, dedicated to Santa Maria Maddalena, perched on the mountain just outside the city, with a breathtaking view, on the castle of Rozafa, on the right and the Buna valley, practically the whole of Scutari was at our feet.
We found ourselves in front of a city where there is very little, apart from the castle and the beautiful town hall, because the regime had fun destroying churches and mosques, in the crazy paranoid attempt to eradicate religion from the social fabric for create "the new man". The little that was saved, like the cathedral, had been transformed into something else, in the case of the cathedral in a sports arena.
The pedestrian street is very beautiful, the mosques are beautiful, although modern, the Orthodox church and the Catholic churches. Very modern buildings, even hotels at 5 stars share spaces with the classic '50 or' 60 'buildings all the same and sad, of popular architecture, many decadent. But the real beauty is the nature of places. Really wonderful! Three rivers meet in the city. Two very large, the Drin and the Buna and a smaller one, the Kir.
The mountains surround it, the Albanian Alps can also be seen in the distance. From various points the view is truly breathtaking. The scutarini are really beautiful. The young girls are very nice, so are their peers. Ladies and gentlemen with a truly distinct appearance alternate with the numerous magids, the gypsies of three different tribes, who live in the suburbs and nearby villages.
But the gypsies of Albania are discreet even when they ask for alms, they do it gracefully, without insisting or trying to cheat you, as alas often happens with us. They live picking up old irons. You see them running with carts pushed by bicycles, the luckiest motorized ones.
On the streets the many stray dogs are all wood chips, they have a tag on their right ear and they are quiet and well-fed, at least in the city, it is a controlled stray, they are also sterilized so as not to reproduce in an uncontrolled way. The city is clean, only thousands of electric wires, so uncovered, run into the air from one side to the other, and you wonder: is it not dangerous?
The memory of the many martyrs of communism is everywhere, in the churches, in the streets, in the mosques. The persecution was fierce on Scutari, a city where the Catholic intelligentsia was concentrated, but did not spare Muslims. 38 martyrs were beatified in October of the 2016, including a girl from 22 years Marije Tuci, barbarously tortured until she died. Many stories of unspeakable suffering.
In Scutari I met my cousin, Aleksander Bonati, to whom the regime removed a t from the last name: Bonatti. After 165 years a Bonatti and a Simini embraced. He came specially from Trieste to participate in this event. We found ourselves via the Internet following the publication of another book by Giacinto Simini, A Lecce patriot in Ottoman Albania , published by Argo, Lecce, and from that moment we started an affectionate exchange of family information.
His uncle Giulio Bonatti is among the 38 martyrs beatified and he himself, a musician and conductor, has suffered years of persecution.
The hospitality and solicitude of the young Marsel Fregjai and his family, the warm friendship of prof. Ahmet Osja, who told me that I am "his sister", that he was honored to meet me, that my family was related to the noblest families of Albania, the Dodmassei, the Marcagioni (or Gionimark), the Preca, the Mandoi Skanderbeg and so on. In short it is not easy to keep your feet on the ground with all this!
Fortunately there were the Capuchins to bring me back to reality with their wonderful spirituality.
I left Scutari with the firm intention of returning, so I will return, because there I left a part of my heart.
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