The Prefect of Bologna Visits Cavazza

by Ernesto Dini, picture by Stefano Mazzali

In the wake of a tradition of famous personalities.

On numerous occasions, many people have recalled how the Istituto Cavazza, which will soon celebrate 125 years of history, holds a very important place in the heart of the people of Bologna and in the cultural, civil and social tissue of the City.Picture of Prefect Vincenzo Grimaldi
The Cavazza has always represented a reference point of great importance in regards to integration, training, rehabilitation and independence of blind and visually impaired persons. In the last decades, it has become a centre of excellence at the European level for the development and dissemination of new and special technologies allowing visually impaired people to use the computer, multimedia products, mobile phones and advanced computer science systems for knowledge, information communication.
The Prefect of Bologna is well aware of the initiatives supported by Cavazza and the results attained. He was accompagnied on last October 19 by the Chief of Cabinet Matteo Piantedosi and visited the Istituto with interest.Picture of Dini, Grimaldi, Piantedosi and Barbuto
Welcomed by the Istituto's President Pier Michele Borra, Counsellor Ernesto Dini, Director Mario Barbuto and by a large group of collaborators, the Prefect began his visit by pausing with students registered in the course to become telephone operators, discussed teaching methodology and programs with the students and encouraged them to get involved in their studies to ensure future employment.
The Prefect demonstrated a particular interest during his visit to the Technology Help Centre Augusto Romagnoli, a modern centre headed by specialized experts with the duty to illustrate and experiment with the most advanced educational aids and adaptive communication and information technology present on the European and international markets. There were a wide variety of tools used in the field of education bye the youngest groups in kindergarden to students integrated in regular high schools such as Braille lines, voice synthesis for the computer, Braille embossers, audiobooks for immediate reading of print material, various tools for people with low vision (colour portable or table CCTVs, large screen software).
The Technology Help Centre counted 342 visitors in year 2004, formed by 80% of persons with low vision and 10% were family members, teachers and school employees, while the very high number of telephone calls concerned mostly blind people calling from every part of Italy.
The last stopping place was the Anteros Museum, where are preserved, placed on tables, reproductions of major works of art in relief, modern and contemporary paintings as well as from the Renaissance: Mona Lisa, the Birth of Venus, Magdalen Crying to Saint George and the Dragon, to name a few. The professionals at the Museum, renown in the City of Bologna, explained the techniques used to tridimensionally reproduce these works of art, and the importance of the initiative. It aims to create andPicture of Dini, De Angelis, Borra, Piantedosi and Grimaldi develop visually impaired people's interest in pictorial art through tactile exploration of well-known paintings, a new educational method followed with interest and the numerous expectations regarding its pedagogical value.
The visit ended in the room of the Board of Directors with a brief and cordial conversation at the end of which the Prefect has expressed to the management and collaborators words of appreciation and satisfaction for the work done at the Istituto, ensuring solidarity and availability to overcome and resolve issues needing to be addressed.
The visit by the Prefect of Bologna is part of a long tradition of famous and prestigious visitors to the Istituto Cavazza: the Queen Margherita of Savoy in the 900s, and more recently, the archbishops of Bologna Giacomo Lercaro and Antonio Poma, the then President of the Republic Francesco Cossiga, Helen Keller and Gina Lollobrigida as well as ministers, members of parliament, institutional authorities and representatives of the City of Bologna. The Istituto has earned general affection and consideration during the course of its 125 years of life.