The Portland-Bologna Sister City Association celebrated their 10th anniversary this month. Since organizing in 2003, PBSCA has raised awareness and appreciation for each city, connecting people and businesses in the sister city alliance. Through their annual Youth Exchange, Educational Exchange, and community events, PBSCA nurtures an international friendship with Bologna.
“PBSCA started with a civic bang,” remembers President Phil Potestio. “As a new sister city, the first in quite some time, founded by some Italian American heavy hitters there was a lot of buzz. It has settled into a hard-working, less publicized entity. Portland and Bologna are of similar size, have similar priorities and are about the same place on the international radar.”
Bologna Deputy Mayor Matteo Lepore and Francesca Martinese, the Mayor’s International Director came to town to share in the celebration. Massimo Antinucci, Sara Colombazzi, Silvia Bronzi and Chef Giorgia Lambertini of Lavitabella also arrived, setting up home in downtown Portland. “Casa Bologna” became the venue for many of the week’s events, including dinners, book showcases, pasta and bread classes, and a screening of the 2009 movie, “The Man Who Will Come (L’uomo che verra).”
Some of the biggest highlights of the week came at the Portland Rose Festival, an annual civic event going on during the PBSCA activities. The Royal Rosarians ceremonially knighted Deputy Mayor Lepore, and Massimo Antinucci led the Portland-Bologna group in the Grand Floral Parade. Delegates also met with Portland Mayor Charlie Hales in a ceremony honoring Portland’s sister city organizations.
“My favorite event was the magnificent spread set out on the roof of Casa Bologna by Chef Giorgia,” Phil shares. “It featured foods and vino of Emilia-Romagna presented in a very modern, completely delicious manner. It was their opening reception.”
With festivities over, PBSCA looks toward the future.
”Our goals remain the fusion of our cities, both as a citizenry and as formal civic units,” Phil says. “Our short term goals include expansion of exchange opportunities – business, commerce, and especially cultural.”
More information about PBSCA is available online at www.portland-bologna.org