Livorno, 1892. In this year, practically in a different era, a firefighter sergeant who was born in Pistoia and was married to the daughter of the keeper of Livorno’s municipal building, decided to plant, next to the Quattro Mori monuments the seeds of the noble art of fencing.
His name was Beppe Nardi, and in 1892, one of the oldest sporting association, the Fides club, was founded. From this club many fencing talents were born, from that year until the present time. From that moment the city of Livorno and the destiny of fencing was tied into a very strong tradition.
The sporting associations started to multiply, becoming four, and at the same time more and more children started to practise with the sword and the foil. Because of this now Livorno is the second city in the world after Moscow with the highest numbers of Olympic medals in fencing, not including the numerous success of Livornese athletes in other international championships.
It is because of this profound tie of our city with fencing that, as a Mayor, I greeted with enthusiasm the proposal of the Organising Committee to hold in Livorno the Veterans Fencing World Championships in 2018.
For one week the eyes of the world will be on Livorno and on this competition that will have high-level former fencers competing with athletes who came into fencing only at an older age.
This is a priceless opportunity for our city, not only to consolidate our role as a national capital for sports, as shown by all the recent charts about the indicator of sports in the Italian provinces, but also to promote a different tourism: sports tourism.
When we speak about the Veterans Fencing World Championships, we include over eight hundred athletes and four thousand people, including coaches, chaperones, families, staff and fans, who will become an important contribution to our city.
Livorno is ready to do its part. It’s ready to show the best version of itself, just like always on these occasions, starting from the sporting centre that will be the heart of this event: the Modigliani Forum, which for the first time will be under the spotlight and under the watchful eyes of fencers from all over the world, as it deserves.
The last reason, not for importance, I can say I am proud of hosting this event is because our city is tied to the profound essence of fencing. The higher meaning of the competition is not in victory, but in the respect and consideration of the opponent.
An important lesson, the first one that is taught to children in the fencing schools.
An important lesson to all of the citizens, but above all to us who are called to represent them in the democratic institutions.
The Mayor of Livorno
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