Ard Geller, the Town Ambassador of Canterano
Ard Geller, the Town Ambassador of Canterano

Ard Geller, the Town Ambassador of Canterano is already at work

There is nothing to be done, love for the roots and the town of origin wins and can do anything.

A few days have passed since our visit to Canterano and with the new Town Ambassador Ard Geller we have already entered into the core of the problem of the rebirth of his beloved village of origin.

Ard lives in Virginia, USA but is moving to South Carolina to be closer to his daughters and especially his newest newborn grandchild. His wife was born in Japan to an Italian American military father and a mother of German descent.

One might think that such a cosmopolitan family, where the cultural richness of each person would allow them to be able to look at the whole world, could not be interested in one of the smallest municipalities in the province of Rome:

“I had been thinking about it for a couple of years but I didn't know where to start to help the rebirth of Canterano, and then Covid put everything to rest”, Ard told me right from our first phone call.


Ard Geller, the Town Ambassador of Canterano

But who is Ard and how does his deep attachment to Canterano come about?

His story is very particular because Ard was born in Israel to a father who escaped the Nazis and to a mother originally from this beautiful village in the Aniene Valley.

To escape Nazism, his father had fled to Palestine (before the foundation of Israel) and had enlisted in the British army which ruled Palestine at the time. With the army he was then transferred to Naples where he met his wife, a nurse who worked in the hospital and taught Italian to the Jewish soldiers.

Together they decide to go and live in Israel, where Ard was born, and then to travel to Italy to show their grandson to Canterano's grandparents. When the grandfather, who was the village doctor, sees his grandson he says to the couple: "You can go wherever you want, but this little grandson stays here with me!".

So, the family goes to live in Rome and Ard spends every weekend and summer in Canterano where he creates a nice group of friends who still love each other. In fact, on October 14 two years ago, the day of his birthday which fell during the truffle festival, they organized a surprise party for him which involved all his peers.

Growing up, the presence in Canterano could not be more assiduous, and Ard does a job that takes him around the world together with the oil industries. But he never forgets his friends, and all his friends' children have travelled the world to keep dating.

For a series of fortuitous coincidences all three of his daughters were born in Hamburg in Germany and have different relationships with Canterano. The first daughter speaks Italian very well, the second speaks it well and the third doesn't speak it. All three are in love with Canterano and have come, with different frequencies, to visit every couple of years.

This fact already determines a different relationship with Canterano and with Italy and if we want to build bridges with all three, we have to think of something particular for each of them.

In the meantime, the grandchildren arrived who approached Italy thanks to their grandfather and the experiences of freedom that can be had in a village like Canterano. The boys still tell of the time Tonino made them cook pizza by putting it in the bakery oven with the appropriate tools.

“Over the years I have sent several American friends to visit Canterano, I have even prepared a small guide with all the experiences to do in the areas around the country... If we analyse together the results and the feedback they have given me we can calibrate the activities of the Towns Ambassadors".

I like talking to Ard and we have already moved on to an operational phase to define the role of the Town Ambassador and how it can be the catalyst for the revitalization of small villages.

I like this job, and then I like talking to Alessia Pieretti of the Metropolitan Area of Rome Capital, to create a successful model for these beautiful territories.

A model that can be replicated in other areas and regions and that brings well-being and happiness to beautiful but lonely villages.

Ard Geller, the Town Ambassador of Canterano
Ard Geller, the Town Ambassador of Canterano
Ard Geller, the Town Ambassador of Canterano

Written by:
Claudia Bettiol

Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in...

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