To be or not to be? Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Why do we need this all? In the small town of Corigliano d'Otranto in the southern Italian province of Lecce tourists can find the answers to these and many other questions related to the problems of human existence.
Corigliano d'Otranto is known in Italy as Salentine Greece, one of the densely populated centers of the Greek minority. Perhaps, eagerness of the city authorities to philosophy can be explained by the national Greek passion. Anyway, today Corigliano d'Otranto is one of the few cities in the world, which administration does not hesitate to quote Socrates or Cicero in official documents.
At the same time the Greek component is not the only reason, which persuaded Corigliano d'Otranto authorities to actively use the experience of philosophical trends. According to the British newspaper Guardian, Ada Fiore, the current mayor of the town, previously worked as a teacher of philosophy.
Thanks to Ms. Fiore Corigliano d'Otranto, which was once considered to be an Italian backwater, has gradually transformed into a unique tourist center, which main charm is philosophy.
It was Ada Fiore's idea to produce ceramic plates with quotations from St. Augustine. Postcards depicting the city now acquired a new content: here will appear not only landscapes, but also such existential questions as "Why did you born?", "Why do I live?", etc. The city mayor has initiated a number of workshops in Corigliano d'Otranto, where participated the leading luminaries of philosophy in Europe. And not so long ago a multimedia philosophy park has been opened in the historic part of Otranto, where "the conversation can be carried out on the trees, where the walls are lit, and the pictures are floating".
In addition to the philosophical image mayor’s initiative has also received applied continuation. In particular, in the city hall it is possible to use the services of the so-called "philosophical aid", which is available there on Fridays.
It should be noted that the last initiative was strongly criticized by a number of Italian psychologists, who have decided that philosophers take their jobs. So, Dr. Giuseppe Luigi Palma, the head of the professional association of psychologists in Apulia (the region, where Corigliano d'Otranto is located) called philosophical consultations "confusing" for the clients. However, the town’s mayor countered this criticism by saying that he does not understand the working principles of the municipal philosopher, whose primary purpose is to teach people thinking clearly.
Currently the municipal philosopher in Corigliano d'Otranto had already received about 500 clients. The cost of such a service is 15 Euros per session.