Antonio Parrotta on reviving Greek identity in Southern Italy: We feel Greek, we are the same people

Antonio Parrotta Greek

Dimitrios I. Amanatidis spoke with Antonio Parrotta, a Greek from the Calabrian city of Crotone in southern Italy.

Parrotta is part of a new generation of Crotonians who are re-engaging with their ancient Greek legacy and identity.

Crotone was first settled as Kroton in 710 BC as an Archaean colony, but many centuries of forced Latinisation has weakened Greek identity across southern Italy, which, thanks to efforts by people like Parrotta, is being revived.

D.A.: Tell us Mr Parrotta, who are the "Guardia Krotoniate" (Krotonian Guard)?

A.P.: The school (scuola) "Guardia Krotoniate" is an amateur sports club that deals with MMA combat sports, muay thai wrestling, free grappling and Greco-Roman wrestling. It does a great job socially by taking on many disadvantaged children - who live in the middle of the road - and trying to take care of them as part of a large family, leading them towards a worthy life. It also deals with historical representations and does everything possible to improve the modern city, especially by revaluing the history of Crotone and Magna Grecia (Megali Ellada).

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D.A.: Do you feel Greeks?

Α.Ρ.: Yes, we feel Greek, but first of all, we are the Greeks of Magna Grecia (Megali Ellada) since the culture of Magna Grecia is a culture of unparalleled value and sister to our Greek motherland.

D.Α.: What has been going on in Southern Italy over the last few years?

Α.Ρ.: In the Italiot South, for at least three years, there has been a kind of awakening of identity, perhaps because we really reached the bottom. As in every cycle in the history of mankind, there is clearly now a great awakening of consciences that I wish could bring us dreamers back to the beginning of a "new" road, without having to invent ourselves again since we have so much of this material and cultural burden to provoke zeal all over the world that is just discovering their identity again.

Antonio Parrotta D.Α.: Do you cooperate with Greeks from Greece?

Α.Ρ.: I am in contact almost every day with my Greek brothers and we talk about many different things.

We exchange many achievable ideas, we talk about origin and customs and, in this way, we learn each other better. I myself am the administrator of many Facebook pages in collaboration with many friends from Greece and Magna Grecia.

D.Α.: What are you looking for from the Greek state? A recognition?

Α.Ρ.: I am very willing and I strongly support the formation of the province of Magna Graecia from Syvaritis to Crotone. It would really be the best and given that Northern Italy treats us as the last wheel of the wagon, a different kind of relationship with Greece could really arise obviously.

READ MORE: Italian mayor proposes renaming state highway SS 106 to “Road of Magna Graecia.”