Demetrio Volcic, the man from the Veneto border who kept interest alive and wove relations, amongst others, with central Europe and the former Soviet Union countries, passed away yesterday. A man of great culture, able to interact as only few can and on any level, the Chair of the Masi Foundation, Isabella Bossi Fedrigotti, bad her farewell, acclaiming him as “great, magnificent and extremely giving”.

He had been awarded the “Masi Civiltà Veneta Prize in 1992. “His entrance into the circle of the most illustrious representatives of Veneto, established around the Masi Prize, was convinced, profound and proactive, just as was his style”, Sandro Boscaini, Deputy Chair of the Foundation recalled.

He became involved immediately, taking up his place in prestigious panel chaired by Prof. Feliciano Benvenuti, contributing with innovative ideas, which matured a few years later when he became Chair of the Masi Prize. Two moves conceived some time previous became reality: the institution of the Masi Foundation, on the one hand, and in terms of contents, the opening up to a more extensive Veneto, which looked to the east, towards lands traditionally tied to the Republic of Venice, like the Gorizia Hills, Istria and Dalmatia. And more, looking to those population that, culturally close to the north-east of Italy, isolated by the iron curtain. Thus, on his wishes, a significant award was created: the “Grosso D’Oro Veneziano”, to be attributed to famous people who interpreted, on an international level, the same cultural values that had overseen the delivery of the Masi Civiltà Veneta prizes. In Valpolicella, characters such as Milan Kuchan, the first President of the Slovenian Republic, were recognised, along with Vartan Oskanian, the first Foreign Affairs Minister to foster the independence of the Republic of Armenia, Hans Dietrich Genscher, key promoter of the reunification of the two Germanies, as well as men and women of great culture, such as Peter Esterhazy, Marjane Satrapi, Agnes Heller and Svetlana Alexievich, later to be named Noble prize winner. In the short, uneven conflict between Georgia and Russia that brought the Georgian vine-growing economy to its knees, Volcic highlighted the problem and rewarded Metropolitan Sergi di Nekresi in Valpolicella, the promoter of the country’s vine-growing modernisation aimed at assuring an exit from Soviet commercial dependency.