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Outgoing Italian envoy admires eastern Taiwanese town

2014/11/21 13:10:00

Taipei, Nov. 14 ( CNA) Outgoing Italian representative to Taiwan Mario Palma expressed admiration Friday when he learned that Fenglin, a town in eastern Taiwan's Hualien, has been certified by Cittaslow International as a "Slow City."

Founded in Italy, Cittaslow is a movement aimed at improving the quality of life in towns by slowing down its overall pace, especially in how they use spaces and control traffic flow. It is part of a cultural trend known as the Slow movement.

Palma, who has been stationed in Taiwan for more than seven years and says he loves Taiwan's ife and culture, speaks fluent Mandarin, and has even written a book in Chinese.

As he will soon be transferred to serve as the Italian ambassador to Bangladesh, he recently went on a bike tour around Taiwan in the company of several good friends.

Among the places he toured was Fenglin. which he visited on Friday. He toured the historic Japanese-style wooden dormitory that once housed school principals, as well as the Hakka Cultural Museum.

When he saw a threshing machine in the museum, Palma recalled his childhood days, noting that he used the same type of machine when he was a child, only Taiwan's machine is for the rice, and in Italy the machines were used for wheat.

Peng Tsung-chien, head of Fenglin Township, said that after repeated adjustments over a period of more than three years, the town was able to meet the requirements to be certified as a "Slow City," becoming Taiwan's first and only city to have won the recognition.

Peng expressed the hope of luring more foreign tourists to the town on the strength of the Cittaslow International certification.

(By Lee Hsien-feng and Lilian Wu)