National Hall to be formally transferred on Slovenian minority on Monday

Trieste, 26 March - The ownership of National Hall, a building in Trieste which is of great symbolic importance to the Slovenian ethnic minority in Italy, will be formally transferred from the University of Trieste on to the minority on Monday.

Trieste, Italy
National Hall (Narodni Dom) in Trieste.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
File photo

The National Hall Foundation said on Saturday that the move will bring to an end the process of restitution of the building to the minority which started in July 2020.

A document on transferring National Hall back on to the minority was signed on 13 July 2020 with Slovenian and Italian presidents Borut Pahor and Sergio Mattarella in attendance.

Monday's event will coincide with the start of the university's academic year and will be attended by Italian President Mattarella.

It will see Roberto Di Lenarda, the university's chancellor, and Rado Race, the foundation's president, sign a contract on free-of-charge transfer of ownership from the university on to the foundation.

A contract will also be signed allowing the university to use the building free of charge for ten years, until a building to which the university will move is renovated.

"This is an important moment for our city," Race said in the written statement, adding that the transfer ceremony is closing one period in history while opening a new one.

"National Hall will be the beating heart of cosmopolitan Trieste, a common home of all people of good will and a place of dialogue and cooperation."

National Hall, the centre of Slovenian life in the early 20th century, was torched by Fascists on 13 July 1920, 16 years after it was built, presaging the campaign of terror that followed under Fascist rule in the subsequent decades.

After it was burnt down, the building was repaired and turned into Regina Hotel, which was closed soon after WWII and bought by the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region to be later given to the university. Last October, the Italian government adopted a legal basis to transfer its ownership, which was passed by parliament in December.

© STA, 2022