It’s a matter of citizenship ... Verona in the world through its citizens

06 Apr 2013 22:59 | Armelle Loghmanian

 It’s a matter of citizenship ...
Verona in the world through its citizens 

Interview by Alessandra Zocca

Vittorio Di Dio
  • Counselor to the Verona Mayor
  • Responsible for the relationships with Verona’s citizens residents abroad, circles “Veronesi nel Mondo”
  • Responsible for the Wi-Fi Program
  • PR Director of Fiera di Verona

Verona is the fourth most important town for tourism in Italy (after Rome, Venice and Florence) and is known worldwide for its Roman amphitheater (Arena) and for becoming the “Town of Love” thanks to the myth of “Romeo & Juliet”.
The town is well known, but not everybody knows that the Commune of Verona takes into great consideration the relationships with their citizens, including the emigrants and the Veronese citizens living abroad temporarily.
Therefore, in 2007 the Mayor of Verona – Mr. Flavio Tosi – appointed his counselor Mr. Vittorio Di Dio as responsible for the “Affairs with the Veronese living abroad”.
Being myself Veronese and recently appointed as the President of the “Brussels Circle of Veronesi nel Mondo (Veronese living abroad)”, I wanted to share this experience with you, so I went to Verona to interview Mr. Di Dio.

The “Arena” (left) and the Town Hall of Verona  Juliet’s balcony, Verona The Roman bridge, Verona

Mr. Di Dio, would you like to illustrate the mandate you were given by the Mayor of Verona to build a bridge between Verona and their citizens /emigrants around the world?

In 2007 the Mayor of Verona – Mr. Flavio Tosi – appointed me as responsible for the Affairs with the Veronese living abroad in order to support the Veronese emigrants, meaning specifically the ones who emigrated (including their direct descendants), the ones willing to repatriate and the ones temporarily resident in other countries.

In these six years my work has been to increase the knowledge of the over 40 circles of Verona located throughout the world.
Thanks to these years of experience we could define a best practice model to manage the relationships with our emigrants and - with your support, Alessandra - we are implementing this Pilot Model for the Circle of Veronesi nel Mondo in Brussels.

The ultimate goals of my mandate and of this “Veronesi nel Mondo” pilot model include:
  • Citizenship - Keeping a strong social bond between Verona and the Veronese citizens/communities abroad
  • Culture & Tourism - Spreading a flavour of our beautiful town across the world, and inviting the world to visit Verona and adopt it as the “Town of Love
  • Economy – Introduce entrepreneurs, gastronomic and other Veronese excellences to the Veronese citizens abroad, to their local networks and to potential business partners.
Certainly, the Veronese community of Brussels will be the main driver of all the new circles that we will open in Europe, it will be a cultural point of reference and support for the Veronese in Brussels and in Belgium.

How will this model be replicated to the other Veronese Communities around the world?

I want to say right away that every nation in the world has its own characteristics; therefore each Veronese community, in order to be active and effective, must be inserted in the social context of the country where they live. In this way we will work for the circle of Brussels too.

How can the Commune of Verona support the “The European Year of Citizens 2013” (1) and contribute to building the “Identity of Citizens of the European Union”?

I believe that to build the new identity of the citizens of Europe in 2013, first we have to teach them the history of Verona and we need to make them rediscover the beauty of their roots. We aim through the establishment of this circle of Verona to teach and pass on to young people the value and pride of their origins.
On the other hand I think that this initiative by the Commune of Verona can be considered a significant effort to contribute to building the “identity of Citizen of the European Union (2)” by bringing the citizens’ birth town close to the EU and vice versa: in this sense Verona tries to be a champion of European citizenship.

Mr. Di Dio, the other way round now: what is the value of the Veronese Communities for Verona? How can the Veronese living abroad contribute to promote their town?

The Veronese communities who live abroad have always contributed to the development of Verona, because their successes in the world of work and culture have represented the hard work and ingenuity of the Veronese, becoming in this way the best ambassadors of our town and country in the world.

Mr. Di Dio, in your opinion, how can Verona play a role in Europe? And in the world?

Verona will play a very important role in the world if it emerges as a city of tourism, culture, art and excellent food. If Verona has the ability to communicate these distinctions to the world through the many Veronese living abroad, and if it is able to build development policies in this direction, then the city of Romeo and Juliet will become the pride of Europe.

Short Biography

Born in 1957 Mr. Vittorio Di Dio has started to be involved in politics when he was very young.
He served in the Bersaglieri (rifle regiment in Italian army) with the grade of lieutenant, where he learned that in order to deliver results, it is necessary to work cleverly and quickly.

He studied business planning, organisation and marketing.

He covered the role of President of the Verona Mercato (a joint-stock company, which built and owns the Agricultural Centre of Verona, and manages it directly); through this job he could personally envisage the economic potential of Verona.
He was also the Vice-president of the Fiere di Rovigo, where he had the opportunity to acquire crucial operations competencies, which are very helpful in his current position of PR Director of the Fiera di Verona.

In the last five years he has been appointed as Counselor for various sectors: equal opportunities, construction industry, tourism, social affairs and now relationships with the Veronese in the world.

Contact Details

Vittorio Di Dio
Consigliere incaricato Veronesi nel Mondo


Tel: 0458077514

Ufficio presso Comune di Verona - P.zza Bra n°1
37121 Verona

Disclaimer -   
Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Comune di Verona, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.


(1) The European Year of Citizens 2013

<<The European Year of Citizens 2013 is dedicated to the rights that come with EU citizenship. Over this year, we will encourage dialogue between all levels of government, civil society and business at events and conferences around Europe to discuss those EU rights and build a vision of how the EU should be in 2020>>.

<< … The Europe for citizens programme helps promote understanding between the Union and its citizens, seeks to deepen awareness of what it means to be a European, and assists in developing a sense of European identity. The Europe for citizens programme (2007-2013) aims to give the citizen a key role in the development of the European Union: promoting Europe’s common values and history, fostering a sense of ownership of the EU project among citizens, and developing ideas and activities with a European angle…>>

(2) Source: Flash Eurobarometer 294 "European Union Citizenship", October 2010

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