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2017 Year of the Hamlet, heart of Italian way of life

Culture minister launches project to valorise historic villages

2017 Year of the Hamlet, heart of Italian way of life

Rome, February 16 - The Italian culture ministry has presented a strategic project to valorise historic villages up and down the country as part of initiatives to mark the Year of the Hamlet this year. 'Borghi - Viaggio Italiano' involves approximately 1,000 villages in 18 regions, which have been brought together in an interactive website. The project is being coordinated by the culture ministry with the region of Emilia Romagna as the leading proponent. The idea is to work with local associations to highlight the unique identities of the individual hamlets, many of which are relevant to the country's tourist industry. This is in line with the operating model envisaged by the national tourism plan currently before the cabinet for final approval, which involves collaboration between local organisations, sector operators and the government. However, the hamlets and their communities also want to look to the future, laying claim to their role as centres of innovation and social regeneration according to an authentic 'Italian way of life'. For this reason, requalification must involve repopulating these ancient urban centres so that their inhabitants might become the emblem of the local artistic, cultural, gastronomic, artisanal and entrepreneurial traditions. The project reserves a special place for the 'Hamlets of the heart', places affected by the recent earthquakes in Lazio, Umbria, Marche and Abruzzo, which will see targeted action to stimulate a different kind of tourism in collaboration with cooperatives, associations and start-ups run by young people to relaunch the local economy. Earthquake-stricken municipalities will also receive approximately 4 million euros of public money for live performances and cultural activities. The project also aims to create synergies with big art cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice, using these as a 'gateway' to the smaller villages in view of creating alternative tourist itineraries. "There is an urgent need to multiply the places of attraction in order to develop a form of tourism that is cultured and intelligent, and the hamlets need to become a national challenge," Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said. photo: Oriolo Romano

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