The European Capital of Culture is a title given to a European city for an interval of one year during which the city will organize cultural events showcasing both the city and its role in Europe. Established in 1985, this distinction aims to promote European unity. The title is an opportunity for European cities to gain international attention as well as obtain possible economic and social benefits. For the year 2019, an international panel of cultural experts have chosen the proposals of Matera, Italy and Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Several cities in Italy have been awarded this distinction before (such as Florence, Bologna, and Genoa) but this is the first time a city in southern Italy has been chosen by the panel, and the honor is long overdue.