Pompano adds two more Italian cities to the twinning

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Pompano Beach Mayor Rex Hardin signs the memorandum twinning Sorrento, Italy and Pompano Beach at the Pompano Beach Cultural Center. [Tim Wassberg]

By Tim Wassberg | New Pelikan Author

Pompano Beach – With the aim of expanding economic development, tourism, education and cultural exchanges, the Greater Pompano Beach Sister Cities program signed new friendship agreements with two cities in Italy on September 16th and 19th – Ercolano and Sorrento.

Pompano Beach Mayor Rex Hardin, along with Greater Pompano Beach Sister Cities President Tony Phillips, met via Zoom from the Pompano Beach Cultural Center with various dignitaries from the selected Italian cities to cement the friendship agreement.

Broward County Vice Mayor Lamar Fisher, who personally attended the signing ceremony in Ercolano, said, “We are different cities, but we have things in common and that is what we are looking for in the Sister Cities program. And to be able to take it around the world to Italy and work with those cities. . . it really just shows the possibilities for working together, not just having the name ‘twin city’ but really joining efforts, be it for commercial purposes, work purposes, whatever it may be, to really come together as a partnership.”

Pompano Beach Mayor Rex Hardin, Pompano Beach Sister Cities President Tony Phillips, and Florida State Representative Chip LaMarca. [Tim Wassberg]

Phillips, who is working to make the connections, says he is adding these two cities along with the current Termoli sisters [Italy] and Itajai [Brazil] is part of the development of Pompano Beach as it continues to grow. “With Ercolano, it’s also a great opportunity with the professors at FAU [Florida Atlantic University] that bring students to Italy to study every year.” Education, says Phillips, is key to these exchanges, along with the cultural arts and economic development.

Also involved is Dr. Ilaria Serra, FAU Professor of Italian Studies, who was present at the Ercolano signing. As the head of the Italian seminar at FAU, she says that there have been exchange students for a long time. “But we’ve usually done it with Venice, so it’s very good to have a place to expand to in the south.”

She says the two new cities have a lot in common with Pompano Beach. They are both summer towns and southern towns. “Sorrento is on the beach so they have the boating industry. Ercolano is one of the unique places in the world. It is a sister of Pompeii. . . They were also covered by the ash of Mount Vesuvius and it’s a place to visit.” Ercolano is still being discovered, but it’s incredibly important historically, Serra said.

“[They may be] across the ocean but we’re still similar cities. It is important to learn from other cultures. I mean, the way they deal with problems, the way we deal with problems, that’s really what this is about. It’s sort of people-to-people,” Hardin said. “Here we get to know each other, learn from each other, see how we do things differently and just help each other. Sister Cities is a great organization and I am so thankful Pompano Beach is a part of it.”

Florida State Assemblyman Chip LaMarca attended the signing in Sorrento and also noted the importance of the exchange.

“Every town twinning is important, especially in South Florida. I’ve been involved with city, state and country for many years, and it’s always about business development and tourism.”

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