Costa Concordia success boosts pride for shamed Italy
GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy (AP) - The extraordinary righting of the Costa Concordia from its watery Tuscan graveyard has given Italy a boost of sorely needed pride, helping erase the shame many felt after an Italian captain took the cruise ship off course in an apparent stunt, crashed it and then abandoned ship before everyone was evacuated.
It didn't seem to matter that the chief salvage master was from South Africa or that his 500-member crew hailed from 26 different nations. Italy, beset by two years of recession and such political instability that each day brings relief that the government hasn't fallen, had pulled off an unprecedented engineering feat as the world watched live on television.
"Well done!" retiree Aldo Mattera said on Tuesday morning as he surveyed the Concordia, upright for the first time since the Jan 13, 2012, shipwreck that killed 32 people near Giglio Island.
Premier Enrico Letta also weighed in, emphasising the importance of restoring the nation's civic pride.