Bewitched by the thousands of lights. He had seen the tree on postcards and had imagined it from stories by friends who told him of the genius and fantasy of those who had created it. When they invited him to flick the magic switch to light the Christmas Tree on December 7, 1998, Terence Hill immediately understood that it was a sign of respect and affection, something not offered to just anyone. While living in Gubbio to film the RAI's TV series about the adventures of the detective priest, Don Matteo, this popular actor has made his presence felt. There were the three laps around the Bargello Fountain (see News item "Certificate of Fools"), and now the invitation to leave a lasting mark on this beautiful moment by lighting the Christmas Tree designed in lights on the side of the mountain.
Terence Hill speaks of the Tree, the emotions and the admiration for an idea, so original and in such a special context: "During the long months of work on Don Matteo, I've come to understand the extraordinary resourcefulness of this city.
There's the history and the traditions which can be wonderfully relied upon, while everything is modern yet still preserving the integrity of the past and all the incredible traditions that have been handed down over time. We could not have found a better place to make Don Matteo. When they spoke to me about the Christmas Tree, and they asked me to participate in the tree lighting ceremony, I accepted with pleasure and with a sincere appreciation for those who've managed this for all these years. Gubbio has the wisdom to know how to protect and to appreciate their own famous attributes." Had he ever seen anything like it before? "No. I've seen trees of chocolate, very big ones made to be eaten as desserts. Imaginative and also appetising, in a way. But not like this... I think it's for this reason that Gubbio's tree has been deservedly entered into the Guinness Book of World Records.
The size depends on the location used, and a mountain is certainly the most incredible location one could choose. It's a tangible example of the originality of the whole enterprise, an originality which has been shown again and again over the years. I know how much passion and work is involved on the part of the promotion team, all volunteers who gladly offer their free time in the months leading up to Christmas.
There is one thing I'd like to point out, if Gubbio has chosen me to light their Christmas Tree, that means that the ties between us are sincere and strong. I've enjoyed myself here, and I've felt much kindness and warmth. I've been able to work surrounded by so much goodwill. It's a memory we will always have with us, from the director Oldoini to everyone in the whole crew."
Written by Massimo Boccucci - Gubbio
*the inhabitants of Gubbio