Romulus and Remus - Italian Festival - Sunday 8th July 2018 12.00 noon - Palace Farm, Silver Street, Wells
The festival is a charity fundraising event, supporting local charities and is held to commemorate the good relationship formed between the Italian prisoners of war and the local community.
The event is named after the historic monument of a wolf suckling Romulus & Remus, the founders of Rome. The statue is located at Penn Hill by the side of the busy A39 Bristol Road, 2 miles north East of Wells.
The statue was made by an Italian prisoner of war called Gaetano Celestra, one of many who worked on farms in this area towards the end of the Second World War. Gaetano Celestra was a builder and stone mason and he and his fellow POWs were given the task of repairing the wall in this area, which had been damaged by a German bomb. He was given permission to work on the statue with his colleagues in their spare time as a way of saying thank you to the local people for their kindness during their enforced stay in the area. The statue, which is made of concrete over a wire frame and stands about 4 metres high and was erected in 1945.
There is a plaque at the foot of the statue, which summarises the legend of Romulus and Remus: "According to legend Romulus and Remus were the twin sons of Mars, the God of War, and vestal virgin Rhea Silvia. Amulius, the king, had the babies placed in a trough and cast into the River Tiber. They drifted ashore and were rescued by a female wolf, who suckled, fed and protected them until Faustulus, a shepherd, and his wife found them and raised them into adulthood. Romulus and Remus both had plans to build a city but had such a violent disagreement about who should be king that Romulus killed Remus. Romulus built the city, which he ruled, as king, for forty years.
That city was Rome - founded in 753 BC"
Mendip District Council’s conservation team applied for special protection for the Romulus and Remus statue from English Heritage putting forward the case that the statue on Penn Hill demonstrated the significant legacy of Wells’ prisoner of war camps and was of social and cultural importance in Mendip.
This view was backed by the British government through the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) which in 2008, gave its seal of approval for the feature to be included as a Grade II listed statue among the country's List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.
The event should start at around 12 noon and often carries on well into the evening. There will be lots of music and an Italian lunch as well as a raffle and the eventual presenting of the cheques to the charities.
For full details please contact Julie Bollini via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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