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A Singular Tribute

posted Oct 15, 2009, 8:02 AM by Doug Snider   [ updated Jun 8, 2012, 1:05 PM ]

On Friday, October 1, 2010, the people of Alba, Italy joined a delegation from Medford in Alba’s Piazza Medford for a very special event.  Alba’s mayor, Maurizio Marello, opened a ceremony that marked the beginning of three days of celebration of the fifty years that Alba and Medford have been sister cities. As an honor guard of the Carbinieri saluted, the flags of Italy and the United States were raised above plaza while the Mayor’s wife, Teresa sang the anthems of both counties in a beautiful and resonant soprano voice. Mayor Marello, Medford City Council president Al Densmore, Medford’s sister city committee chairman, Liz Smith, her Alba counterpart, Giorgio Sordo and an enthusiastic throng were joined by the American Consul Annmaria Saiono for an occasion that is emblematic of the very special relationship between the two cities.


They were gathered on the veranda of Alba’s exhibit and convention hall to observe a singular event in the long history of the affiliation of Alba and Medford. Mayor Marello and his administration had recently elected to honor the memory of former Medford Mayor John Snider by naming one of Alba’s streets, Via John Snider. This unprecedented action by the City of Alba not only recognizes Mayor Snider’s prominent role in establishing and nurturing the ties between the two cities but is a testament to the importance of the Medford-Alba connection and the breadth an depth of the friendship that it has engendered. Two of John Snider’s children were present for the ceremony, Doug Snider and Mary Ann Edelstein. Addressing the crowd that included many of John Snider’s friends gathered for the occasion, Doug Snider noted that Alba does not take the naming of streets lightly and had named its streets for significant figures in Alba’s rich history. He said that the people of Alba could take pride in telling visitors that it had named a very prominent street for a very special friend. Link


Following addresses by Mayor Marello and Consul Saiano, the crowd moved to the intersection where Via John Snider begins for the unveiling a newly minted street sign bearing its new name. Doug Snider and Mary Ann Snider Edelstein were given the privilege of pulling the cords that removed the Italian and American flags veiling the new sign. They were joined by friends who have been deeply involved in the sister city connection since its inception. Among them was Alba’s first ambassador to Medford, Pino Dutto, who is hosting the Snider family during their stay in Alba. Pino was very instrumental in having the street dedicated to John Snider. Several former mayors of Alba were present for the unveiling including Medford’s special friend Gianni Toppino. Several of the first group from Alba to visit Medford were in attendance.


Following the unveiling, an official ceremony was held in Alba’s council chambers to observe the fifty years of friendship that the two cities celebrate this year. During the ceremony, Consul Saiano remarked that, in her career in international diplomacy, she has been involved with many sister city affiliations but she has never known one as successful and as deeply rooted in personal friendships as the Medford-Alba program. Mayor Marello remarked that the connection between the two peoples was much like a brotherhood.


The day’s festivities concluded with a fabulous dinner at the nearby Castello Grinzane Cavour, the ancestral home of Italy’s first prime minister. Following an exquisite meal featuring Piedmontese cuisine and Alba’s prestigious wines, the participants gathered in front of the hilltop castle to watch fireworks exploding across the valley above the city of Alba. The fireworks marked the end of a perfect day in Alba the inauguration of the second half century of this phenomenal union of cities