ZAGREB, May 31, 2018 – President Kolinda-Grabar Kitarović on Wednesday arrived in the Italian region of Molise where she met with the local Croat community which is celebrating the 500th anniversary of its arrival in that Italian province.
A ceremonial welcome was prepared for the president in Kruč (Acquaviva Collecroce) and about 600 local Croats were in attendance. The president was greeted by local officials who informed her of the problems the community is faced with. One of the biggest concerns is the poor infrastructure, particularly transport. Italian authorities have allocated funding for road maintenance, however, the money still hasn’t been made available.
History professor Giovanni Picoli informed the president that upon their arrival in Molise five centuries ago, Croats started learning Italian and slowly began forgetting Croatian, however, their native language had not been entirely lost. Language is a sign of identity, he added.
“It is the responsibility of us all, particularly the Croatian state and its leadership, to make sure that the Croatian language is taught to younger generations in Molise and other areas of Italy where Croats live,” Grabar-Kitarović said.