Medford, Oregon and Alba, Italy
Sister Cities Since 1960
We have created a new LinkedIn group "Medford, Oregon - Alba, Italy Sister Cities" Our hope is to help create new friendships and re-connect old ones. We are always amazed at unexpected connections we discover with friends in Medford and Alba. With this group we can share news and information about our two sister cities and coordinate projects that will bring us all closer together. Join us and invite your friends.
La Primavera di Bellezza
Welcome to Vinum 2013
See photos from Pino Dutto
My Connection to Beppe Fenoglio
March 1, 1922 - February 18, 1963
The Special People of our Gemellaggio
Alba's Marvelous Mayor Maurizio Marello
Why I Love Alba
ALBA NATIVE TAKES NEXT STEP TO THE NBA
Follow him on Twitter @Ame_DV_33
Update: In the game against Missouri, Kansas City, Amedeo Della Valle scored the first points of his college career, connecting on a 3-pointer with one minute and 34 seconds remaining in the first half.
Updated Link March Madness Interview
What does it mean to have a sister city? The number of possible answers is unlimited since every sister city program is unique and every participant brings their own level of commitment and connection. Like most things in life, what you get out of a sister city relationship depends upon what you put into it.
In English there is no good word for the relationship between sister cities. The Italian language has a beautiful word, “gemellaggio” that sounds so much more elegant than the clumsy English equivalent “twinning”. Let’s make gemellaggio our Italian word for the day and use it liberally.
Medford’s gemellaggio with Alba, Italy has long been a model of what the pairing of cities in other countries can and should be. When Medford Mayor John Snider selected Alba as Medford’s sister city in 1960, he based his decision on factors that would foster a connection between the people of the two cities as well as their city governments and institutions.
For over fifty-two years the people of Alba and Medford have been meeting and forging very special and enduring friendships. Those friendships are like ripples on a pond, spreading to other families and individuals. These close personal ties have spread to other cities and regions in Italy. Those friendships have by now spanned several generations and are part of a rich legacy that future generations will inherit and treasure.
While it is possible to enjoy our gemellaggio without traveling, it is the experience of setting foot in one’s sister city that brings home the reality of how connected we are. Few who have been to Alba would not say that it is a magical place. Being a sister citizen of Alba makes the experience even more exciting and fulfilling. Although Alba has several European sister cities, it is hard not to feel that the bond between Medford and Alba is unique and special. The kindness and hospitality afforded visitors from Medford is beyond cordial. From shopkeepers to the mayor himself, the people of Alba are welcoming and hospitable in ways that we can only try to reciprocate but never quite match.
Alba is a very open city and the Albesi welcome their Medford counterparts to partake in all the rich culture and history of which they are so proud. Alba has become a destination for travelers from all parts of the world. Tour buses are an everyday sight bringing tourists to enjoy the food, wine and culture of Alba. What the ordinary tourists miss is the opportunity to sit at the family table with dear friends and enjoy special friendships that are an integral part our of being sister cities.
A major part of enjoying a sister city relationship is learning about the history, culture and people of one’s sister city. Alba’s history dates back to neolithic times and spans every era of European history. Getting to know Alba really means learning European history and seeing its impact on the lives of modern Albesi.
One of the greatest fringe benefits of our gemellaggio is learning to live like our friends in Alba. Most who visit Alba return with a great appreciation of their lifestyle. Alba is not only the center of a great food and wine industry, it is a city that promotes an active and healthy lifestyle. Alba was named a “Città Europea dello Sport” for the year 2013. This European award recognizes not only all of the great sporting events, facilities and venues to be found in Alba but the widespread participation of its citizens in active sports.
The people of Medford can enjoy their special connection with Alba just by turning out to greet our friends from Alba when they come to Medford. To get the most from our gemellaggio, there is no substitute for meeting the people of Alba in the “City of 100 Towers”
MEDFORD-ALBA FRIENDSHIPS ARE TIMELESS
Friendships that grow form the ties between Medford and Alba are enduring and timeless. A great example of this is the recent visit to the United States of Franco Vezza and his wife Anna Becchis. During a fifteen day stay in the country, this delightful couple from Castagnito, just outside Alba, retraced some of Franco’s first journey to Medford in 1970, reconnected with old friends and made new friends, all through the sister city connection between Alba and Medford.
In the summer of 1970, a group of young people from Alba arrived in Medford after a five day journey by Greyhound bus from Boston. The group included Paola Detoma, Giuliana Montanaro, Giovanni “Franco” Vezza, Paolo Vigna and Marisa Troia. The group stayed in Medford for five weeks, living with local families. Franco Vezza stayed with Jeff and Pat Shute, with Joe and Lois Beach and with the family of Mary Kelley. Marisa Troia returned to Medford as a teacher and chaperon with the student exchange group from Alba in 1986. It was not until 42 years after his first visit that Franco Vezza returned to Medford after retiring from the Miroglio textile company in 2011. Anna, who was the mayor of Castagnito from 1999 to 2009, had never been in Oregon
While in Medford in 1970, Franco Vezza became acquainted with Ward Lampkin, a meteorologist with the United States Weather Bureau who was very involved with Medford’s sister city program. Lampkin moved back to his native Missouri after nineteen years in Medford and passed away in 2006. Franco had stayed in touch with Lampkin’s daughter Janice Pierce and her husband Bill who now live in Elridge, Missouri. On Franco and Anna’s third stop after Miami, Florida and Key West, they spent several days with Janice and Bill in their home near the Ozark Mountains. Their next stop was Lake Tahoe, California, where they visited Ward Lampkin’s granddaughter Sonnet Kroker.
On April 17, Franco and Anna arrived at the Medford Airport and were greeted by a complete stranger, Doug Snider, whose father John Snider had been instrumental in the establishment of the link with Alba in 1960 when he served as Medford’s mayor. For the next five days, Anna and Franco were guests of Doug and his wife Carol in their home, around the valley and on a three day trip along the entire Oregon Coast.
Not surprisingly the two couples soon learned that they had many friends and acquaintances in common both in Medford and in Alba. When Doug Snider returned from an architectural apprenticeship in Alba following service in the U.S.Navy, his first employer was Franco’s former host, Jeff Shute. When Franco had been selected to participate in the 1970 exchange, the chairman of Alba’s sister city committee was Enrico Demaria, Alba’s second ambassador to Medford and a dear friend of the Snider family who was taken from his family and friends far too soon. Anna worked at the hospital and got to know Enrico in his final days. While she was mayor of Castagnito, Anna worked closely with Anna Agnelli who was responsible for publicity at the Enoteca Roero, an entity which promotes the geographic region of Roero which includes the city of Castagnito. Anna Agnelli is the daughter of Enzo Agnelli, one of John Snider’s dearest friends in Alba. Enzo and his wife Diva are the godparents of Carol and Doug’s oldest son Ryan. The Sniders and the Vezzas spent their five days together sharing memories and discovering amazing connections and coincidences they had not been aware of.