• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Fury over broke Italian town's €150 million Padre Pio statue
The Campania town of Ogliastro Ciliento has angered residents with plans for a giant Padre Pio statue. Photo: Roberto Taddeo.

Fury over broke Italian town's €150 million Padre Pio statue

The Local · 18 Jan 2016, 17:15

Published: 18 Jan 2016 17:15 GMT+01:00

The town's roads and water mains are in a sorry state, while plans to build a swimming pool - first touted in 1994 - have fallen by the wayside.

That's because Michele Apolito, the mayor of Olgiastro Cilento, a town of 2,200, has other priorities, namely constructing a statue of Italy's most-loved saint, Padre Pio, that will be a massive 85 metres tall - even bigger than New York's Statue of Liberty, which is 46 metres.

He believes the statue will put the town on the map and rake in cash from religious tourism, but the majority of residents beg to differ, Il Fatto Quotidiano reported.

They say they have not been properly consulted about the statue, the design of which alone will cost €15 million, and see the project as a waste of money, especially given that they live in what some describe as "third world conditions". 

A poll on the Facebook page of the citizens' group, Comitato Cittadino Ogliastro Cilento e Frazioni, revealed the majority of residents were against the erection of the statue.

“It's shameful to think that such an invasive and useless thing is being planned. Saint Pio wouldn't want us to spend €150 million on a statue,” wrote group member Monica Di Lorenzo.

“In the meantime we live in third world conditions, only having water every other day and having to drive around the houses to get anywhere because the roads are inefficient.”

But the lack of support has done little to dampen the authorities' quest to eclipse both the Statue of Liberty and the statue of Christ The Redeemer overlooking Brazil's Rio De Janeiro, which stands 46 metres tall.

If built, it would be the 59th largest statue in the world, outstripping those two iconic structures.

On December 18th, the local council signed an agreement with the neighbouring council of Prignano over the chosen site for the statue, situated on the border between the two towns.

Yet it is unsure how a town of Ogliastro Cilento's limited means could afford such a project.

Certainly, a portion of the money would need to come from the public purse, with EU money and regional funds being used to finance the behemoth, Il Fatto Quotidiano claimed, while the rest would have to come from donations and private associations.

Story continues below…

Even the scale model (pictured above) of the project inside the mayor's office - displaying the Padre Pio statue above a specially designed visitor centre -  was built thanks to €8,000 donated by a local pastry chef. 

Ogliastro Cilento has a track record in failing to get impressive building projects off the ground.

In 1994, the council promised citizens an Olympic-sized swimming pool, but after plans proved too costly the design was reduced to a pool of more modest size with just three lanes.

But 22 years on, the town is still without a swimming pool.

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
‘Destitute’ private jet owner fined thousands for tax fraud
The private jet-owner claimed to have no income or property. File photo: Bob Adams/Flickr

He had a private aeroplane and eight homes.

Italian mayor refuses to officiate civil unions
A protest in favour of civil unions earlier this year. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

“Why can’t a mayor be a conscientious objector?”

Netflix to launch 'illuminating' Amanda Knox documentary
Amanda Knox in court for her first appeal of her murder conviction. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP pool/AFP

The documentary comes out on Netflix on Friday.

Venetians dress as pirates to protest cruise ships
A protestor at a previous demonstration against large ships. Photo: AFP

Locals aren't happy about the presence of huge cruise ships in the Venetian lagoon.

EU, Rome warn Swiss region over vote to curb migrants
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni. Photo: AFP

The southern Swiss region Ticino voted on Monday to curb job access for workers living across the border in Italy.

Italy's crunch referendum set for December 4th
The referendum has turned into a vote on Prime Minister Renzi's time in office. Photo: AFP

The proposed reforms are judged to be the most important in Italy since World War II.

Outcry in Italy over Swiss vote to ban foreign workers
Airolo in the Gotthard Pass. Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl

The Ticino region borders Italy, with 63,000 jobs there held by cross-border workers.

Italian doctors remove wrong kidney from sick man
File photo: Pexels

Doctors wondered why the man wasn't recovering after having his kidney removed...

Migrant documentary to represent Italy at Oscars
Migrants arriving at Lampedusa's port in 2015. Photo: AFP

The film looks at the thousands of arrivals on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Italy's migrant centres are running out of money
Migrants at a Red Cross centre in Ventimiglia, near the French border. Photo: AFP

Housing, food and health care for migrants is expected to cost Italy over €1 billion this year.

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Culture
Eight things you should know about Rome's Spanish Steps
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
National
Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
2,531
jobs available