The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has chosen Hugo Pratt and his character Corto Maltese to represent the Italian language and culture

"Hugo Pratt, the legacy, the work, the biography.": this is the project promoted by the Farnesina in collaboration with Cong that brings drawn literature to Italian schools abroad and Italian Cultural Institutes around the world, including writing competitions and a travelling exhibition.


We told you, about a year ago, about the project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (Directorate General for Public and Cultural Diplomacy) “Hugo Pratt. L’eredità, l’opera, la biografia” realised in collaboration with CONG, the company that manages all the artistic work of the Venetian master.

With the creative writing competition “An Adventure for Corto”, students from Italian schools abroad were asked to write a short story or the screenplay for an original Corto Maltese story.
As many as 15 countries joined the project and sent in their work, which was examined by a jury. The youngsters took – among many other places – Corto Maltese to the Argentinean Land of Fire, to Libya, to Turkey, to Lake Balaton in Hungary, on the train from Girardot to Bogota, to the bazaar in Kerman in ancient Persia, to the brink of Mount Batur, an active volcano in Indonesia. Each convinced the sailor with the earring to follow them on an adventure born from the imagination of an individual or a group of classmates, with the help of books and maps or their teachers. Each of these kids drew a line of luck and adventure on the palm of their hand.

On 9th October 2023, in the magnificent setting of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, on the occasion of the Stati Generali della Diplomzia Culturale attended by the Directors of the Italian Cultural Institutes, Embassy Counsellor Marco Maria Cerbo announced the winners of the competition “Un’avventura per Corto Maltese”.

The winner was “In Persia, the Springtime of Corto Maltese” written by the students of class IV of the scientific high school of Tehran’s Italian school “Pietro della Valle” (they are Golsa Adabdar, Shana Rose Jones, Kivarash Nasiri and Golab Sadeghi) under the guidance of Fabio Tiddia, history and philosophy teacher. The story was rewarded with the corresponding comic strip, consisting of 13 original plates and created for the occasion by Giuseppe Camuncoli (aka Cammo) a well-known comic strip artist for Marvel and DC Comics, author of “Four Stones in the Fire”, sequel to Hugo Pratt’s “Scorpions of the Desert” series, with script by Marco Steiner.
In second place was “La figlia del Pescatore” by the 11th Hungarian-Italian section of the Csokonal Vitéz Mihály Lycée of Debrecen in Hungary, and in third place “La tomba di Corto” by Elisa Bianchi of the 4th class of the Italian section of the Collège Citè Scolaire Internationale of Lyon.


During the Florence Conference, there was also the passing of the baton from the 2022/23 project dedicated to Corto Maltese and the 2023/24 project dedicated to Antarctica, which will be realised by handing over a copy of the Corto Maltese story winner of the “Un’avventura per Corto” competition to Parthenope University researchers who will sail between New Zealand and Antarctica to take part in the thirty-ninth Italian Expedition to Antarctica on board the “Laura Besso”, the only icebreaker ship flying the Italian flag.
This ideal voyage of Corto Maltese to Antarctica also served to announce the “Settimana della lingua italiana nel mondo” (from 16 to 22 October 2023) which, as every year, on the initiative of the Accademia della Crusca and the cooperation of the Farnesina, will promote the Italian language throughout the world.


But that is not all. Also in Florence, it was announced that the project dedicated to Hugo Pratt and Corto Maltese will continue in 2024 with a travelling exhibition of reproductions dedicated to the great Venetian cartoonist and his best-known character that will be set up – in collaboration with CONG – in Italian Cultural Institutes around the world. Eighteen countries have already adhered, and from South America to Asia, passing through the Balkan routes, they will be the new protagonists of this long journey. It starts in October, with the inauguration of the first exhibitions in Fiume (Rijeka), Croatia in Valona (Albania)

Hugo Pratt Farnesina