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Town Twinning  |  Ghajnsielem - Tolfa  |  The Story so far   |  Photo Gallery
Twinning Committee  |  About Tolfa  |  Tolfa Map  |  Wallpapers  |   Useful Links



Informazioni su Ghajnsielem (In Italiano)

What is a Town Twinning?

One of the main pillars of the European Union's credo is the promotion of active European citizenship. Since its early days, the European Union has spoken about the unity of its people and their active involvement in the construction of a unified Europe. The idea of town twinning was born shortly after the Second World War, when the peoples of Europe realised the need for mutual reconciliation and cooperation between neighbours in order to rebuild peace. Today, more than fifty years later, town twinning has grown into a movement linking municipalities in several European countries to a dense and organized network of citizens.

With a view to supporting the emergence of an active and participative European citizenship, the European Commission has been awarding funding to town-twinning activities since 1989, the main aim of which is to reinforce existing links between towns and to encourage new twinning initiatives through the award of carefully targeted subsidies. Town twinning in Maltese is know as Gemelagg.

Ghajnsielem - Tolfa

The twinning negotiations started in August 2002 after a delegation from Tolfa visited Ghajnsielem.  An agreement between the two communities was signed a year later when a strong group of 50 Ghajnsilmizi visited the beautiful town of Tolfa for the first time. The tears of the last day showed that a new friendship has started between the two communities.

The respective mayors, Francis Cauchi and Alessandro Battilocchio were instrumental in ensuring that twinning agreement that was signed between Ghajnsielem and Tolfa was a successful one. In fact, a strong friendship exists between the Italian people and the Ghajnslemizi. Several trip exchanges take place each year in order to keep this friendship twinning between the two towns alive.

The Story so far...

The story started with a simple fax which Alessandro Battilocchio decided to send to the Ghajnsielem Local Council Office. On the fax, there was an invitation to discuss the proposal of a twinning between the two towns. After doing some research on the Internet, and seeing that Tolfa is a beautiful town full of cultural history, Mayor Franics Cauchi immediately accepted the invitation.

2002  -  2003  -  2004  -  2005  -  2006  - 2007  - 2008  - 2009  - 2010 - 2011

2002
Ghajnsielem had already started talks with a Portuguese town with the aim of signing a twinning agreement but nothing was concluded. Negotiations officially started on August 2002 when Ghajnsielem council secretary Dolindo Cassar was engaged in talks with representatives of Tolfa council to conclude an agreement. more. On December of the same year, Alessandro Battilochio, together with three councillors, visited Ghajnsielem to discuss the twinning agreement with Mayor Francis Cauchi.  The delegation was simply impressed with the village of Ghajnsielem.  more

   

2003
A few weeks later, the Ghajnsielem Local Council decided to set up a twinning committee responsible for Ghajnsielem’s twinning agreement with Tolfa. During the first meeting, it was decided what the main areas where the two towns can start working together are.  more

In March 2003, a delegation from the Ghajnsielem Local Council started a five day visit in Tolfa. The visit was a follow up meeting, after a delegation from Tolfa visited Ghajnsielem in December. During this visit, it was decided that Tolfa will be the first to host an exchange visit.  more. In fact the Ghajnsielem Football Club was invited to make the first visit to Tolfa in August 2003.  more

In August 2003, first cultural exchange trip in Tolfa was held. The tears of the last day showed that a new friendship has started between the two communities. A preliminary agreement was officially signed. Click here to view the exchange visit in more detail. Click here to read a short message from Francis Cauchi and Alessandro Battilocchio after the end of the first cultural exchange trip in Tolfa. Click here for related articles taken from the Italian media. Ghajnsielem.com later interviewed Tolfa Mayor Alessandro Battilocchio for his comments regarding this first cultrual exchange trip. Read Interview

Alessandro Battilochio visited Ghajnsielem for the second time a few weeks later and this time he was welcomed by many Ghajnselmizi who met with him during the exchange visit in Tolfa. Alessandro was also present for the Miss Malta preliminary contest.  more. In the meantime, the twinning committee held a series of meetings to prepare for a strong delegation of 125 people who were expected to visit Ghajnsielem in August 2004. The hosting family preparations was on top of the agenda   more.
 

2004
A provisional program of activities announced in March 2004. It was also announced that the Tolfa delegation will be coming during the last week of August - the week dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto.  more

In May, thirteen students from the Ghajnsielem primary school were in Tolfa for a six-day cultural exchange visit. Mayor Francis Cauchi later told Ghajnsielem.com that the main aim behind this visit was to share the student's experiences with each other, make new friends and learn about each other's culture.  more

  

A 140 strong Tolfa delegation arrived in Malta over three different flights, after which they were transported to Cirkewwa to catch a ferry to Mgarr. And one week later as the ferry left the berth, a last salute of car horns was given, closing one chapter of the Ghajnsielem-Tolfa twinning, but preparing for a multitude of stories that are to follow. more


2005
The twinning commitee announced that the second cultural trip to Tolfa will take place during the first or second week of August.  more. This time, the visit to Tolfa was going to be in the form of a youth exchange thus focusing on the youths aged 25 years and under.  more

In August, a group of 70 Ghajnsilmizi spent a truly memorable week in Tolfa (Italy) between August 7th and 14th. This was the second time that an Ghajnsielem delegation visited this beautiful Italian locality. And as Tolfa Mayor Dr Alessandro Battilocchio said "This trip  was only the start of a new beginning" Ghajnsielem.com has prepared a special photo gallery.  more


 

2006
It was announced that the Choir of Tolfa which is well known in the Lazio Region for its performances will be visiting Ghajnsielem in February. more

The weekend of February 24-27 was characterised by rain, cold and wind. Yet despite the inclement weather, the festivities prepared by the Ghajnsielem Council in honour of a visiting delegation from Tolfa went ahead. The Tolfa Chior was involved in several cultural activities organized by the Comune di Tolfa in collaboration with the Ghajnsielem Local Council and the Lauretana Choir.   more


 

2007
In May, the Ghajnsielem Local Council organized the second
cultural visit in Tolfa, Italy for the Year 6 Primary school students. This trip was made possible thanks to the European Union Student Exchange Programme. The children were accompanied by Mayor Francis Cauchi, Miss Paulene Grech (Head of School),  Mrs. Sylvana Agius (Year 6 teacher) and their parents. The Hon. Minister for Education Louis Galea was also invieted as a special guest of the Ghajnsielem Local Council. He was impressed by the friendship of the people of Tolfa   more

A group of  55 residents from Tolfa were among us for the feast of Our Lady of Loreto. During their stay, the twinning agreement between Tolfa and Ghajnsielem was renewed in order to continue to build on the already good relations that exists between the two communities. Check out our special section covering all the activities that were organized for them.   more

In September of the same year,  the St Joseph Band Club orginized an eight-day grand-tour around the main cities of Italy. Tolfa was one of the locations visited  more

2008
On the 25th of July, Francis Cauchi gave a presentation about the success story of the twinning between Ghajnsielem and Tolfa emphasizing that although  the agreement was signed in 2003, relationship between the two communities is still alive. The presentation was held during a meeting between the collage of Local Councils led by Parliamentary Secretary Chris Said more.

See the video presentation below

On the 9th of October 2008, a delegation of around 20 primary school students accompanied by their parents spent a 5-day cultural exchange visit in Ghajnsielem. The main aim behind this visit was to share the student's experiences with each other, make new friends and learn about each other's culture. The group was once again led by Tolfa Mayor Dr Alessandro Battilocchio. The children took part in several extracurricular activities and also visited the Ghajnsielem Primary School where they took part in an activity which was attended by several distinctive guests including the Speaker of the House or President Dr. Louis Galea, Gozo Minister Hon. Giovanna Debono, the Italian Ambassador to Malta H.E. Dr Paolo Andrea Trabalza and Gozo Bishop Mgr. Mario Grech. During this event, Ghajnsielem Mayor Francis Cauchi and his Italian Counterpart Dr Alessandro Battilocchio exchanged gifts for the occasion. more

2009
In August, Ghansielem's Paul Stellini displayed a personal exhibition of paintings entitled “Emozioni a Colori – Tolfa vista da un artista Maltese” in Tolfa. In his paintings, Stellini has depicted Tolfa – the place he has frequently visited over the last period of years, thanks to the twinning which bonds Tolfa and Ghajnsielem. Stellini has captured the beauty of Tolfa – the place which he describes as his second home - surrounded by its natural beauty in the shadow of the Rocca dei Frangipane. The exhibition was inaugurated on Sunday 9th August at the Museo Civico di Tolfa by the Hon. Dr Chris Said, Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Public Dialogue, in the presence of the artist himself, Tolfa’s mayor Alessandro Battilocchio and many other guests.

In October, a delegation of 27-people from the Italian town of Tolfa made a 5-day visit to Ghajnsielem. The delegation was led by Mayor Alessandro Battilocchio and included members from the musical group 'Amanita di Tolfa' and the 'Gruppo Comunale Voluntri di Protezione Civile di Tolfa'. The group arrived on the 15th of October and left on the 19th.

2010
In October, members from the theatrical company 'Il Barsolo' from the Italian town of Tolfa which is twinned with Ghajnsielem, recently took part in an evening of Italian song at the Citadel. They recited lyrics and songs of various Italian song writers, including Lucio Battisti, Franco Battiato, Renato Zero and Francesco De Gregori. Il Barsolo directs Tolfa’s Council Theatre and performances include comedies by Pirandello, De Filippo and Moliere, among others. The youths were accompanied by Tolfa’s mayor Alessandro Battilocchio and vice-mayor Luigi Landi. During their stay, the group visited many places of interest in Ghajnsielem including the nativity village at 'Ta Passi' fields. The Ghajnsielem Local Council hosted a dinner in their honour on Sunday evening.

2011
In April,
Ghajnsielem artist Paul Stellini was made an honorary citizen of the Italian town of Tolfa to seal the ten year anniversary of the twinning between Tolfa and Ghajnsielem and also the personal friendship which exists between the people of Tolfa lead by the Mayor Alessandro Battilocchio. The hilly town wanted to honour the artist who visited Tolfa around twenty times in the last ten years with this Honour. It was the Mayor, Battilocchio himself that delivered this award as a surprise, in a council hall, full of citizens and representatives of the regional associations. more

During the same period, a joint-seminar about the work and role of local enforcement officers was held at the Grand Hotel. The seminar was organized by Mayor Alessandro Battilocchio and both the Tolfa and Gozo-district police took part. The seminar discussed the common problems which each and every town and village faced by criminality.

 

Photo Gallery

Third Official Visit to Ghajnsielem
(August 2007)

A group of  55 residents from Tolfa were among us for the feast of Our Lady of Loreto. During their stay, the twinning agreement between Tolfa and Ghajnsielem was renewed in order to continue to build on the already good relations that exists between the two communities. Check out our special section covering all the activities that were organized for them.


 



Tolfa Choir Delegation in Ghajnsielem

(27th February 2006)


A group of 30 people from Tolfa led by Alessandro Battilocchio came to Ghajnsielem for a short official visit. The delegation represented the Choir of Tolfa which is well known in the Lazio region for its performances. During their visit they were taken on an extensive cultural tour of Gozo including the Citadel, Ggantija, and other places of interest in Ghajnsielem.  more
 



Second Cultural Trip in Tolfa

(August 2005)

A group of 70 Ghajnsilmizi spent a truly memorable week in Tolfa (Italy) between  August 7th and 14th. This was the second time that an Ghajnsielem delegation visited this beautiful Italian locality. And as Tolfa Mayor Dr Alessandro Battilocchio said "This trip  was only the start of a new beginning" Ghajnsielem.com has prepared a special photo gallery with over 150 photos.
click here for more information

 
 


Tolfa residents in Ghajnsielem
(August 2004)
As part of the twinning agreement between Tolfa and Ghajnsielem, a group of more then 100 residents from Tolfa are among us for the feast of Our Lady of Loreto. Check out our special photo coverage for all the activities that were organized for them.

 


First cultural exchange trip in Tolfa
(August 2003)
- Photo Gallery -

 

Members of the Twinning Committee

 

 

About Tolfa

Tolfa is a town and comune of the Province of Rome, Italy, to the ENE of Civitavecchia by road. The town has a population of 4.942 inhabitants  and the people are called Tolfetani. It is situated on the top of Monti di Tolfa. In fact it rises 553 meters above sea level.

The town is divided in two parts. Old Tolfa fortified around its castle and the new Tolfa where the main square, gardino communale and the civic center is situated. Tolfa is dominated by the ruins of a medieval fortress which once belonged to the Frangipane. In 1799 French troops set fire to Tolfa and its fortress as the inhabitants, who, because they also viewed the pope as their employer, opposed a strenuous resistance to the invaders.

Tolfa is very popular with the Italians thanks to its beautiful views and open surroundings, its beautiful residences, the rich cultural history and the superb local food and specialities.

Map of Tolfa



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Wallpapers

 


 

Useful Links

www.comuneditolfa.it
www.civitavecchia.it
www.latolfa.com

www.battilocchio.com


 


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