In 2016, the city of San Miniato appeared on TV, in the television broadcast “Mezzogiorno in famiglia” which aired on 12 and 13 March on Rai Due.
The program, led by Amadeus, saw two Italian municipalities challenge each other through competitions of skill, practical tests and general knowledge, to try to overcome the round and reach the final stage where a school bus was assigned as a prize to the winner.
The challenger was Cariati, a small town in the province of Cosenza.
The RAI cameras were located in Piazza della Repubblica, better known as Piazza del Seminario, which became the stage for a day of the games in which some selected citizens of San Miniato had participated. The occasion was naturally favorable also to advertise the traditions and excellence of the area.
Unfortunately, the outcome was instead disastrous because, at the end of the games, Cariati won on San Miniato with the score of 8-2 earning the right to participate in the next episode.
But the exceptionally curious fact is that San Miniato lived a practically identical television experience sixty years ago, even if little memory remains of that circumstance.
It was in fact on November 26, 1959 when San Miniato participated in the transmission “Campanile Sera” conducted by the late Mike Bongiorno, broadcast on the only Rai channel.
Even in that case, the broadcast included a challenge between two Italian municipalities through quizzes and skill tests, and a prize for the final winner of one million lire.
The challenger was Mondovì, a small town in the province of Cuneo.
The stage was set up in the internal square of the Loggiati di San Domenico, renamed for the occasion “lions’ den” and even then the participants were specially chosen among the most prepared citizens of San Miniato, culturally and physically.
Ironically, even then there was the elimination of San Miniato with the merciless score of 10-0 for Mondovì.
Beyond the curious and unfortunate coincidences, which we think about today with a smile, it must be said that the witnesses still remember the burning defeat of 1959 and the loud laughs of the inhabitants of the hamlets.
Some testimonies, photographs and videos of the time can be found at this link: San Miniato in TV a “Campanile Sera”