The city of Charleston lies across 200 square km of land inhabited by 125.000 people. Thanks to its 300 years of history, Charleston is now considered the best preserved architectural and historical jewel in the US.
Founded in 1670, Charleston, SC is proud of its history, and projected toward its future. The first settlement was established in the peninsula surrounded by rivers Ashley and Cooper, both flowing into the Charleston Harbour. Its position on the Atlantic coast soon made it an important commercial centre, from whose active port rice and indigo used to be shipped to Europe. Thanks to this maritime tradition, Charleston is nowadays the 4th Harbour in the States, that recently also has become a destination for cruise ships, whose dock allows passengers to directly access the dynamic city centre and its glamorous shops, restaurants and tourist attractions.
Charleston has increasingly become a gravitational centre for the arts. The first opera ever staged in the US was at the Dock Street Theatre, recently re-opened following massive restoration works.
Spoleto Festival Usa
In 1977 Maestro Gian Carlo Menotti founded the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, meant to be the American counterpart to the Spoleto Festival Of Two Worlds. When looking for a city that had the appropriate charme and a wide offer of locations for the shows, Menotti identified the perfect place in Charleston. Thanks also to the enthusiast support of Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr, the city turned out to be intimate enough to be entirely encompassed by the festival, yet cosmopolitan enough to feature passionate audiences and a sound organization. During the Spoleto Festival USA, since 1977 Charleston becomes every year the core of a series of cultural and artistic events for 17 days, from the end of May to mid-June. The Dock Street Theater stages the Spoleto Festival USA chamber music concerts, and the amazing location carries the audience straight to another time and another world.
Piccolo Spoleto parallels the main festival, offering free and cheap events. Among the various events that Charleston offers to the cvisitor, there are the Southwest Wildlife Exposition, the BB&T Charleston Wine and Food Festival, the International Antiques Show, the Charleston Fashion Week and the MOJA, a Festival of Afro-American and Caribbean music.
Some years ago, Charleston was defined “US’ best preserved secret”, and in 2010 it was appointed “America’s most liveable city” by the US Mayors’ Conference.
Charleston is also a city full of charming restaurants, and the destination of gourmets from all over the world. Fresh fish, local produce, Southern traditional cooking and high-level restaurants ensure extraordinary tasting experiences to locals and visitors alike.
The famous tennis and golf courses, immaculate beaches, historical museums, the important Aquarium retracing the area’s history, the marvellously preserved architecture, they all contribute to Charleston’s list of attractions.
The City of Charleston has started a creative projec called Charleston Digital Corridor, to attract, support and promote local economy, by facilitating the creation of the ideal economic, environmental and social conditions for the development of enterprises operating in the hi-tech field.
In June, 2009 the enterprise incubator Flagship was inaugurated, the result of the committment of the city to attract hi-tech based, high-level jobs. Six weeks past its inception, Flagship reached its highest capacity and the enterprises it supports were able to create as many as 60 new jobs, and a capital of 14 million dollars about, confirming the programme’s success.
The famous Medical University of South Carolina is based in Charleston, its medical and biotech research facilities become more and more important in the area’s economic fabric.
The twinning with Spoleto started in 2008.