Park named after Friulian-Slovenian priest opens in Udine

Udine – A new park was inaugurated in Italy’s Udine on Saturday in honour of Friulian-Slovenian priest Evgenij Blanchini (1863-1921), in what seen as a major recognition for the local Slovenian community, the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad announced.

Blanchini worked in the local orphanage, established a secondary school for girls in Udine and devoted a lot of effort to the social, cultural and academic life in the area.

He founded the first savings bank in Udine, wrote advice for advanced farming, helped with the self-organisation of workers, wrote publications on emigration and regularly visited Friulian emigrants across Europe, the office said.

The idea to name the park after Blanchini was initiated by the Udine municipal councillor Giovanni Marsico, who is of Slovenian descent, and who works hard for the city to recognise the presence of the Slovenian community, the office noted.

The table bearing Blanchini’s name was unveiled in the park by Dejan Valentinčič, a state secretary at the office, and Udine Mayor Pietro Fontanini. The ceremony was also attended by several other local officials.

Valentinčič said that the naming of the park after Blanchini was an important symbolic recognition by the municipality of Udine.

He noted that the city had always served as a centre for Slovenians from the valleys of Valli del Natisone, Alta Val Torre, Resia and Val Canale, i.e. from the entire Province of Udine.

“Probably more Slovenians live in Udine today than in all these valleys combined. So this is not only a memorial to Don Blanchini, but to all these compatriots, many of whom are still aware of their Slovenian roots,” he added.