TAORMINA — This picturesque seaside Sicilian town has the honor to host next month's crucial G7 summit of top global leaders, which will also be the first major world gathering for newly installed U.S. President Donald Trump.
It is also a unique opportunity, as then Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pointed out last October, for the entire island of Sicily to revamp its sometimes troubled image as the birthplace of the Mafia and highlight its history as a unique cradle of civilization and high culture. Apparently someone forgot to mention that to the public relations office of the summit.
Rome-based daily La Repubblica reports Tuesday that the photograph accompanying the digital press accreditation for foreign journalists for the May 26-27 meeting features a shady-looking young man in a traditional coppola hat, with a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth and a sideways look fixated on a young woman under a parasol.
"G7, controversy over photo of man with coppola (hat)"
Giovanni Ardizzone, president of the Sicilian regional assembly, called for the immediate removal of the image. "Feeding the usual stereotypes about Sicilians serves no one, especially an Italy that is looking to relaunch itself." By late Tuesday, the image had been removed.