Un(n)a festa italiana
Southern Italian flair has been prevalent in Unna since 1985 – initially each year, but now every two years. Sparkling arcs of light are set up in the inner town, brought to Unna from Bari especially for this purpose. This tradition harks back to an innkeeper with southern Italian roots who came as a guest worker to Unna several decades ago. He missed the traditions of his homeland and so he got to work to bring the southern Italian convention of bows of light to Unna.
The lighting decorations were somewhat discreet at the first event – three arcs radiated at that time in the town, one year later there were more, and today there are almost 50 arcs in the town centre. The tradition of these lighting decorations goes back a long time – Italian streets and plazas have been decorated with light on public holidays since the 17th century. At the end of the 19th century the first light sculptures were created, firstly with oil and carbide lamps and then with electric power.
However, it is not only illumination that brings about the flair of Italy in Unna: flag-wavers, drummers, crossbowmen and culinary specialities from Italy are to be found everywhere in the inner town on public holidays.
The celebration has also attracted visitors from Italy since the early days. A delegation from Pisa came in the 1980s that then repeated their visits to Unna in the following years. This developed to eventually create a twinning agreement between the towns in 1996.
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