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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2006, 23:44 GMT 00:44 UK
Medal honour for Scots Italians
Sergio Casci and Giancarlo Rinaldi

Two Scottish Italian writers have received special recognition in the home town of their ancestors.

Screenwriter Sergio Casci from Glasgow and Dumfries author Giancarlo Rinaldi were given the awards at a ceremony staged in Barga on Monday.

The San Cristoforo d'Oro (Golden St Christopher) medals are given annually to citizens of the Tuscan town.

Mayor Umberto Sereni said the awards recognised people who had helped to raise Barga's profile across the world.

"It was important that we did something to honour the citizens of Barga," he said.

"Many places do it but Barga was not one of them.

"So we decided to use our patron saint as a symbol of pride and identity for the town.

"Every year we honour people who have stood out and done something in Barga or across the world.

"The ceremony has grown and this year we even had Enrico Castellacci the team doctor of the Italian national football side."

'Tremendous honour'

For Glaswegian Mr Casci - the screenwriter of the Bafta nominated film American Cousins and currently a writer on the BBC's River City - it was a great honour.

"My great-grandfather Armando Casci came over to Scotland in the 19th Century," he said.

"So now in the 21st Century for Barga, his home town, to recognise me in this way is a tremendous honour.

"When he went over to Scotland, like so many people, he came over a very poor man and he started almost literally with nothing.

St Christopher medal

"It's a lovely thing to think that three or four generations later the land of his birth would recognise his great-grandson."

Mr Rinaldi, the Dumfries writer of From the Serchio to the Solway - a book telling the story of the Italian community in south west Scotland - and BBC Scotland's news website reporter for the south of Scotland, was equally delighted.

"I like to think it was really an award for my whole family," he said.

"My great-grandfather and grandfather were poets who were inspired by the amazing countryside around Barga.

"My father, too, could talk for hours about his love of the town.

"So to pick up an award here is a very special and emotional moment for me."

See the two writers in Barga to receive their awards

Italy's little slice of Scotland
25 Jul 06 |  South of Scotland
In Pictures: Barga's Scots links
25 Jul 06 |  In Pictures
Italian role in Scotland honoured
03 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Sergio makes it a family affair
19 Jan 04 |  Scotland

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