The town of Oria, Puglia
Ancient and modern culture have come into a direct faceoff in one Italian town where a new soccer field has replaced ruins dating back to the third century BC.
The town of Oria in Puglia now finds itself at the centre of a tug-of-war between old and new. Many residents are outraged that 15 Messapian tombs were razed for a five-a-side soccer field, while young people are thrilled with the new gym facility.
Mayor Cosimo Pomarico has taken a clear stand defending the decision, dismissing Oria’s history-lovers. The mayor has argued that young people of the town needed a place to go, and that there is no shortage of over historical sites in the area.
A retired policeman, Franco Arpa, is leading the campaign for an official inquiry into the destruction of the ancient burial ground. He is demanding a thorough investigation, insisting that not everyone believes soccer matches should be played where ancient civilizations once lay and that an alternative location for the sport facilities could have been found in the area.