Vitaliano’s Camarca Archive
The figure of Vitaliano Camarca has followed La Guarimba from the beginning, since we decided to repair and reopen the old open-air cinema in 2013. From then on we began to hear the name and work of one of the country’s greatest intellectuals, unjustly forgotten by the new generations. Amantea, without a library or a place to preserve its heritage, is a town condemned to oblivion.
Since 2020, La Guarimba Festival’s Audience Award has been dedicated to the memory of Camarca for his contribution to Cinema as a collective act. The following year, we realised that few people knew about him. Thus was born the Camarca Archive, a digital space in continuous updating, built with a lot of love and care. Children, grandchildren and friends of the Camarca Family have kindly taken us on an intimate and collective journey of the Amantea that Vitaliano had imagined and, unfortunately due to his quick death, could not realise. We hope that this space will not only keep his spirit alive, but also serve as an inspiration for new generations to build the country they dream of.
Dino Vitaliano Camarca (Scigliano, 12/07/1921 – Amantea 01/12/1969) was an Italian journalist, publisher and typographer who had a great influence on the cultural and economic development of the territory of Amantea, Calabria.
Michele Camarca and Teresa Perciavalle, Vitaliano’s parents, met and fell in love in Amantea during the years when Michele worked there as a marshal. Five children were born to the couple: Vitaliano, Adalgisa, Linda, Giuseppe and Benito.
Vitaliano and his wife Raffaella Mannarino had five children: Michele, Maria Teresa, Yvonne, Astrid and Yasmine.
Vitaliano and his wife Raffaella (1941)
He attended secondary school, but did not complete his studies. From an early age he began to cultivate his many interests, including languages. He was fluent in French, Spanish, German and Greek.
Military service (1942)
Camarca took part in the Second World War. He spent some years as a soldier in Greece, where he was first imprisoned and then taken with the rest of the Italian soldiers to be transferred to the German prison camp Stalag XII-F. From here he escaped and was recaptured three times. During the months he spent in the camp, Camarca managed to print a newspaper despite the fact that the Nazis forbade any kind of information activity.
Among the discoveries found thanks to the collaboration of the family, a postcard was found. A postcard that Michele, Vitaliano’s father, sent to his son in the summer of 1944, then detained in the German prison camp Stalag XII-F. The original was purchased on Ebay by a citizen of Amantea, and thanks to the interest of Professor Roberto Musì a copy was obtained to be returned to the family.
The terrible experience in the camp ended in 1945 thanks to the liberation by the United States Army. After his military service, Camarca returned to Amantea at the age of twenty-three.
Postcard sent by Michele,Vitaliano’s father, in reply to his son, then detained in the German prison camp Stalag XII-F (1944)
LIFE IN AMANTEA AND CAREER AS A JOURNALIST
Like all ex-servicemen, Camarca was somehow helped by local institutions to find an occupation. He worked first as a clerk in the municipality of Amantea and then as a secretary at the middle school, but in both cases he lasted only a few days.
His passion for journalism led him to buy a special machine that allowed him to do his first jobs as a writer and typographer. Later, Camarca became an ANSA correspondent for the Gazzetta del Sud and Il Mattino di Napoli.
During his numerous trips abroad, Camarca also wrote international articles and was responsible for the weekly magazine “La tribù”, a magazine of various arts published by former military internees.
Erranti, 2 novels by Dino Vitaliano Camarca, Tip. Esposito-Paola
Lirian, contemporary poetry, edition forense (1941)
Camarca was very attached to his land, so he knew that tourism for Amantea would be a source of economic and social well-being. He founded the Tourist Office and was president of the local Pro Loco. Through his initiatives, he tried to make the country known and appreciated both nationally and internationally.
His curiosity led him to explore typography, journalism, cinema, poetry and music. He even wrote a tango with the maestro Mario Aloe.
THE AMANTEA LITERARY PRIZE
In 1962, he established the Amantea Literary Prize (Premio Letterario Amantea), a competition held at Lido Azzurro. The aim was to enhance the territory through works with specific themes: the stories presented had to highlight the beauty or colour of the landscape, life on the Tyrrhenian coast, or frame a particular episode of folklore, investigate the traditional values of the people, or capture, without falling into arid scientific exposition, the state of mind of Calabria. It was possible to enter the competition by submitting a long short story (or novel), never published in volume, not exceeding sixty typed pages. The manuscript had to be sent to the Amantea Literary Prize Committee at the Amantea Town Hall. Vitaliano Camarca personally took care of the pre-selection of the entries, the reading and possible correction of the texts and, finally, the constitution of the jury, composed of publicists and writers of great renown. The president of the jury for the first edition of the Literary Prize was the rector of the University of Messina at the time, Salvatore Pugliatti.
The prize for the first place winner consisted of one hundred thousand lire, awarded by the Mayor during a dance party organised in honour of the winner and the jury, and the publication of the story by the publishing house “La Croce del Sud”, whose director was Vitaliano Camarca himself. As he was also a typographer, he made the drawings and prints on the covers of the various books. Other small prizes were also awarded to the most interesting works.
After the death of Vitaliano Camarca, the Literary Prize was taken up several times by other inhabitants of Amantea, without however having the same success.
Literatio Prize statuette.
Inspired by Botticelli’s Venus, the award symbolises Amantea emerging from its sea.
Vitaliano and some members of the jury of the Literary Award
Literary Award Ceremony
Brochure produced for the 2nd edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival (1965)
MEDITERRANEAN FILM FESTIVAL
On August 19, 1964, Vitaliano Camarca created the Mediterranean Film Festival (Rassegna del Film Mediterraneo). The event took place at the Arena Sicoli, the only cinema in the town of Amantea.
The Festival consisted of the screening of films which, during the year, had been particularly successful. The Festival was appreciated by the inhabitants of Amantea, but not only: the Arena Sicoli was filled with locals as well as tourists, taking the form of a real place of social aggregation.
In general, the Festival took place between July and August. The first edition began on 24 July and ended on 4 August 1964. The events continued until 1969, when Vitaliano Camarca died.
Presentation of the Mediterranean Film Festival
Vitaliano and the members of the jury of the Mediterranean Film Festival
Mediterranean Film Festival Award Ceremony
Vitaliano Camarca died when he was only 48 years old. His family and the people who had the chance to know him as an eclectic genius, in person or through the events he put on, have exciting memories of him. His untimely death obviously left a deep impression on the family members who, engaged in dealing with the incident, did not have the opportunity to fully collect what Vitaliano left behind. Despite this, thanks to the meetings organised with them, today we surely have a clearer image of Vitaliano Camarca: a brilliant and generous person, capable of overcoming those patterns and prejudices that unfortunately still today limit the expression and creativity of a territory that on the contrary is thirsty for culture. As his son Michele recounts, Vitaliano “was a free spirit. He was like the air, can you trap the air? You can’t. You can put it in a balloon, but all you need is a small hole and it comes out.
- Erranti, 2 novels by Dino Vitaliano Camarca, Tip. Esposito-Paola
- Lirian,Contemporary poetry, Edition forense, 1941
- Umili versi miei. Prefacio di D.V.C., La Croce del Sud, Amantea, 1950