ARCHBISHOP AND FIRST MINISTER TO OPEN SCOTS ITALIAN MEMORIAL GARDEN
The Italian Cloister Garden next to St Andrew s Cathedral Glasgow, will
be opened on Monday 16 May at 5.30pm.
Archbishop Mario Conti will be joined by First Minister Alex Salmond,
the Italian Ambassador to the UK, Alain Economides, the Lady Provost of
Glasgow and Mr Rando Bertoia, the 91 year old who is the only living
internee survivor of the Arandora Star tragedy which is commemorated in
the central monument.
Also present will be Giulia Chiarini, the architect from Rome who
designed the garden and monument and Mayors of the towns from which most
Scots Italians come “ Barga and Pistoia in Tuscany and Picinisco and
Filignano in the Lazio region south of Rome.
Musicians from Milan will be flown in to provide musical accompaniment
to the events and Glasgow Italian opera singer Luigi Corvi will sing
Schubert's Ave Maria as the garden is blessed.
The iconic silver mirrored central monument in the garden will recall
all who died aboard the liner the Arandora Star, which was sunk while
carrying mainly Italian civilians who had been rounded up from their
homes, shops and cafes as enemy aliens in 1940. It is the largest
monument to the disaster anywhere in the world. Around 100 Scots
Italians died in the tragedy and all their names are inscribed on a
marble plaque in the garden. Besides Mr Bertoia who survived, many
relatives of those who died will be present.
Archbishop Conti said: Every so often in life an opportunity comes
along to make a difference ... That opportunity arose when I began
planning the renovation of St Andrew s Cathedral. A space to the east of
the Cathedral, which had lain vacant for many decades, was identified as
a suitable place to create a cloister garden offering space for
parishioners and visitors alike to relax and contemplate.
The central monument is an interactive installation, built next to a
200 year old olive tree gifted by the people of Tuscany, which
encourages us to reflect on the great mysteries of life, death and
resurrection. What people will see and experience on a visit to the
garden is a result of the generosity of today s Scots-Italian community
who raised the funds to create the installation.
First Minister Alex Salmond, who helped launch the project three years
ago this month, said: I am delighted to attend the opening of the
Italian Cloister Garden. This oasis of peace and contemplation at St
Andrew s Cathedral is a magnificent tribute to the those who tragically
lost their lives aboard the Arandora Star during the Second World War
and to the part the Scots-Italian community plays in the rich tartan
fabric of our nation.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
Glasgow s historic buildings help to tell our city s unique and
individual story. It was vital then, that any work carried out to the
Cathedral and its surroundings was sympathetic to its place as one of
Glasgow s outstanding buildings. I believe by working together that
Glasgow has ended up with a fantastic new city space for locals and
visitors alike to enjoy. I also hope that the garden, in particular,
will be a fitting memorial for our Scots-Italian neighbours to come and
remember the victims of the Arandora Star tragedy.
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
0141 221 1168
YOU ARE INVITED TO SEND A REPORTER/PHOTOGRAPHER/FILM CREW TO COVER THIS
EVENT AT 5.30pm on MONDAY MAY 16 AT ST ANDREW S CATHEDRAL, 196 CLYDE
STREET, GLASGOW G1 4JY
ADVANCE VISITS AND INTERVIEWS CAN ALSO BE ARRANGED
Notes to Editors:
Film and still images of the new garden can be shot in advance, by
arrangement, or downloaded from the Archdiocese of Glasgow s Facebook
Page at: https://www.facebook.com/ArchdioceseofGlasgow
and the Archdiocesan Youtube page
Interviews with Archbishop Conti, Mr Bertoia etc
can also be arranged in advance by contacting Ronnie Convery, Director of Communications,
Archdiocese of Glasgow on 0141 226 5898 or 07735 224789.
Scots Italians who died aboard the Arandora Star, and whose names are
now commemorated in the Garden came from the following Scottish towns
and cities: Glasgow, Hamilton, Ayr, Edinburgh, Rothesay, Bellshill,
Cockenzie, Aberdeen, Port Glasgow, Kirkcaldy, Dundee, Elgin, Methil,
Prestwick, Wishaw, Paisley, Greenock, Motherwell, Carfin, Troon,
Larkhall and Dunbar
Glasgow City Council worked in partnership with both the office of the
Archbishop during the renovation of St Andrew s Cathedral and the
contractors of the garden, to carry out an upgrade of the footpaths and
public areas in the vicinity creating a unique public area in front of
one of Glasgow's main landmarks and listed buildings.
This project was carried out in two phases. The first phase saw the
completion of the Cathedral Square, including paving in natural stone,
called porphyry, which was sourced from Italy. The colours and design
are well used in Italy and also compliment the yellow sandstone of the
In an effort to provide an enhanced setting for the garden both on
Clyde Street, as well as Dunlop Street, the Council paved the public
areas in porphyry Italian stone on Clyde Street and Scottish Caithness
Stone on Dunlop Street, in the second phase of the programme.