Napulitanamente deals with Neapolitan culture and, as you read in the presentation, for geographical and historical clear reasons, it extends its culture to the entire Mediterranean area. The next article is dedicated to “those who live in Calabria, those who live in love” in a land that gushes with beauty. If Italy, due to its shape, resembles a boot, Calabria is the region that constitutes its tip.
It is known abroad for the sea (the region faces the Tyrrhenian Sea in the West and the Ionian Sea in the East) and for the cuisine characterized by full-bodied foods and spicy ingredients such as the Red Onion of Tropea, the ‘Nduja of Spilinga and the chilli. However, beyond the natural beauties and culinary delights that characterize this land, without mentioning its other beauties such as the historical artifacts it preserves, and its fascinating cultural diversity; what is extraordinary is its proud and sincere inhabitants. I am Neapolitan but I was professionally born in Calabria, in that part of the boot wet by the Tyrrhenian Sea, a place where for 20 years, the most beautiful of my life, I worked in the entertainment and guest service industry.My work took me to the BIT (International Tourism Exchange). There I met the owners of the resorts who contacted my company for entertainment in their tourist facilities. The first year as an entrepreneur, at BIT, I closed the contract with six resorts in the province of Vibo Valentia, one of which was the Hotel Maddalena, a family-run structure in the village of Drapia, where for a few years the artists of my stable took care of the entertainment for the guests.It is said that the companies must be “an unequal number less than three” but I had a business partner who was thinking of other things instead of working and after a few years I broked my partnership with her and I closed the entertainment agency.The owner of the Hotel Maddalena heard the news and contacted me. He asked me if I wanted to continue my work in Tropea even in Winter and he asked me to work for him, for his new hotel that would be born a few years later. For the moment – he told me – you will personally take care of the entertainment for the Hotel Maddalena, while we will work together on the project for the new hotel. The new hotel is the Tropis and the young entrepreneur was Antonio Mamone.
After more than 10 years away from the Costa degli Dei, I returned to visit and I met Antonio’s family. Antonio has passed away. His premature death tore him away from his family, friends and from the whole community, but he left something that will remain forever. Antonio left something that, as he used to like it, it brings continuity. In a conversation with his sister Domenica we went back in time. We remembered the past seasons then she told me what happened over the last few years. When I started working with Antonio, Domenica was in charge of the Hotel Maddalena. She always followed him in his ideas and his plans.
DM – He was the mind and I was the arm. He was telling me something and I was following him right away. Antonio was so special! He always tried to find the best solution to problems. He couldn’t say no to anyone. He has always had a positive attitude on every occasion and above all he has always had a deep trust in young people. –
This I confirm from direct experience. Antonio was a real “mecenate” and was one of the very few entrepreneurs with whom I have collaborated to have a courageous and innovative mentality. He gave value to traditions, to friendship, to respect and trust. Antonio was curious to listen to the young people. I remember well that his reaction to each of my creative proposals was: “Let’s do it! What do you need to make it happen? ” I would have a lot to tell about his spirit but the whole magazine would not be enough. I ‘m planning to publish a book which also includes some representative anecdotes of those years. I can only tell you that he was a man who not only built buildings but he built continuity in everything. He was in favor of projects that provided for a continuity of work and that provided a social and cultural improvement for the well-being of the community. Domenica says
DM – Antonio loved Tropea and he would never have moved from here. Despite having studied, like us, at the University of Pisa, he never thought of leaving Tropea. –
In fact, after his studies Antonio returned to Tropea where he began to invest in his land and for the future of his land and of his people.What Antonio did it still continues through the work of his family, thanks to his devoted workers and employees, and it is strengthened with the support of all his friends and Tropean citizens.
The idea of building the Tropis Hotel was already in embryo in 2000. Its construction was a long and complicated operation.It was long because the hotel was built without taking advantage of subsidies and financing. In fact it was built reinvesting the money earned at the Hotel Maddalena, using the savings that Don Ciccio Mamone, Antonio’s father, had set aside over many years of work and also with the sale of some properties. It was complicated because when you are honest and rely on the strength of your work, everything becomes more tiring, especially in Southern Italy. Finally, step by step, the dream took shape and in 2010 the Tropis Hotel was inaugurated. A year later, with the opening of the wellness center and the Fitness area, it became Tropis Wellness & Beauty. Other upgrades, such as the construction of the indoor heated swimming pool, the expansion of the outdoor spaces and the construction of a new solarium were done little by little. The initiative of the scholarship Costruisco il Mio Futuro in Memory of Antonio Mamone proves Antonio’s direction towards that working continuity to favor a real and concrete evolution of the territory and its inhabitants. In 2010 the Tropis Hotel had just been inaugurated. Meanwhile the Tropea hotel School did not have the kitchens to allow students to practice. Antonio Mamone made the kitchens of his facility available to students throughout the Winter. The collaboration with the school continues today and the students alternate schooland work at the Tropis Hotel.
Domenica says that the idea of the scholarship had already been proposed in 2011 and it was after the death of Don Ciccio Mamone, in whose honor, the head teacher of the time had proposed to name it. At that time there was a lot of work and among many things they could not achieve it. Years later Antonio also died and two months later something happened that Domenica describes to us.
DM – I still miss him a lot today. There was great complicity with him, we were in symbiosis. One morning in September, yet another sleepless night cleared my mind. Suddenly everything became clear to me. I called my sisters Francesca and Marialuisa, I called my mother and Annalisa (Antonio’s wife. Ed.), And I told them my idea of preparing the project for the scholarship and to name it after Antonio. So I went to the new head of the school, I proposed the project that he immediately liked and we made it happen. –
The first scholarship proposal, the one conceived in 2011, was aimed exclusively at students of the hotel school to encourage the tourism sector in Tropea. In the new announcement Domenica included all schools, giving greater importance to professional schools.
DM – Students participate and are very motivated. The boys are proud to belong to our land and to contribute to its growth. The school council president, the principal and all the teachers are proud of their students and they almost compete to accompany and to introduce them. It is believed that young people let themselves go, that they are lazy, instead they are full of enthusiasm and with a great desire to do and to learn, they are of immense beauty! The message we try to convey to students through this initiative is that if they want something they have to sweat it and if they have a project they have to start right away because life is now. All of them seem to have got the message. –
The winners of the scholarship are not given money, they are paid for the course they choose to follow. The fee is paid directly to the school, or institute, or university that students choose to attend. The idea of the scholarship was received with great enthusiasm by the whole community and was one of the important events in the dossier presented this year by the city of Tropea as a candidate for the Capital of Culture 2021. The scholarship Costruisco il Mio Futuro in Memory of Antonio Mamone is a concrete initiative in favor of the lterritory and young people in the area. The awarding of the winning students, including the introduction and launch of the graduation cap is held annually at the Tropis Hotel. Until this year it was held on August 26, Antonio’s birthday. Restrictions and lockdown permitting, they will probably opt for a date immediately after the final exams to allow students who work during the summer season to aparticipate.The award ceremony for the scholarship Costruisco il Mio Futuro in Memory of Antonio Mamone usually ends with a symbolic ritual featuring a work of art, a masterpiece created by the Calabrese artist Vanessa Cariati (read the interview) .
Its title is “Il Dono” (the gift) and it is a raku ceramic tree that will be enriched with a flower and a plaque at each edition of the award. The tree, which has deep roots, is broken, however its branches, like outstretched arms, are facing upwards. The broken tree represents Antonio who, although he left us prematurely, he has left something continuous. He has not only built buildings but has built a foundation for the future of young people who will blossom like the flowers that will adorn “Il Dono” every year.
Domenica reminds me of the lines from “A mano a mano”, a song by Riccardo Cocciante that Rino Gaetano sang. A dedication that Domenica makes to Antonio and that I report here:
“ Puo’ nascere un fiore nel nostro giardino che neanche l’inverno protra’ mai gelare, puo’ crescere un fiore da questo mio amore per te.”
(A flower can be born in our garden that does not even freeze in winter, a flower can grow from my love for you.)