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21 Villages in Italy Will Be Given New Lives

Rocca Calascio - image courtesy of alessandra barbieri from Pixabay

Projects to relaunch 250 Italian villages at risk of being abandoned has been envisaged by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP). Two lines of action are to take place with 420 million euros being given to regenerate 21 villages identified by regions and autonomous provinces and 580 million euros to at least 229 villages selected through a public notice addressed to the municipalities.

In the last weekend of May, the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI), the National Trust for Italy, will collaborate with the territories to tell the story of the 21 villages.

“Twenty-one extraordinary villages will come back to life.A virtuous mechanism wanted by the Ministry of Culture has led the regions to identify ambitious projects that will give new vocations to wonderful places. We have to run on the NRRP; there is a stringent time schedule, and we are respecting it,” said the Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini.

The Minister spoke at the presentation with the President of ANCI, Antonio Decaro; the President of the Conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces, Massimiliano Fedriga; the Coordinator of the Culture Commission at the Conference of Regions, Ilaria Cavo; and the Professor Giuseppe Roma, member of the National Committee of the Villages of the MiC, in attendance.

“The objective of the Borghi plan envisaged by the NRRP,” continued the Minister, “is to create sustainable and quality growth and distribute it throughout the country. This was the starting point for this idea which was then developed through a discussion with the regions, the ANCI [National Association of Italian Municipalities] and the Borghi Committee.

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“We asked the regions to choose a village within their territory with these characteristics that will now be financed with 20 million euros.”

“The projects will not only concern the recovery of the historical and artistic heritage of these wonderful places but also the identification of a specific vocation, and on this point the regions have implemented virtuous mechanisms and chosen an overall planning.

“I strongly believe in this plan because whoever has administrative, political, and government responsibilities must understand the direction to take and initiate change processes. The potential of the network and broadband will make these villages possible places of work. It is a great challenge, and I believe it is only the beginning. If this mechanism works and these places flourish and repopulate, I believe it will never stop.”

During his speech, the Minister also thanked the Marco Magnifico, President of the FAI, Fondo Ambiente Italiano, an Italian non-profit foundation founded in 1975 with the aim of acting for the protection, safeguarding, and enhancement of the artistic and natural heritage, who communicated to the Ministry his willingness to collaborate on the weekend of May 28 and 29 with the municipalities and local communities to tell and make them visitable and allow discovery of the 21 villages selected by the regions.

Borghi Plan: The 21 Projects Selected by the Regions

The first line, to which 420 million euros have been allocated, is aimed at the economic and social revitalization of uninhabited villages, or villages characterized by an advanced process of decline and abandonment. Each region or autonomous province has examined the applications proposed by the various territorial realities and identified the pilot project – with its village – to which to direct the investment of 20 million euros, for a total of 21 interventions throughout the national territory. The resources will be used for the establishment of new functions, infrastructures, and services in the field of culture, tourism, social, and research.

These are the projects identified:

  • Abruzzo, Rocca Calascio, Luce d’Abruzzo
  • Basilicata, Village of Monticchio Bagni
  • Calabria, Gerace, Door of the Sun
  • Campania, Sanza, The welcoming village
  • Emilia Romagna, Campolo, Art makes school
  • Friuli Venezia Giulia, Borgo Castello, A thousand years of history in the center of Europe: crossroads of peoples and cultures of culture 2025
  • Lazio, Treviniano Ri-Wind
  • Liguria, Remembering the past to rebuild the future
  • Lombardia, Livemmo, Borgo Creative, in the municipality of Pertica Alta in the province of Brescia
  • Marche, Montalto delle Marche, Metroborgo – Presidato of future civilizations
  • Molise, Pietrabbondante, A corner of the world between heaven and earth, the municipality of Pietrabbondante in the province of Isernia
  • Piedmont, Elva, Alvatez! Agachand l’avenir de Elva
  • Puglia, Accadia, Future in the past, Rebirth of the Fossi district
  • Sardinia, Ulassai, Where nature meets art, The relaunch of the municipality of Ulassai in the province of Nuoro
  • Sicily, Borgo a Cunziria 4.0 – Oltre il Borgo
  • Tuscany, Borgo di Castelnuovo in Avane, The recovery and regeneration of the village of Castelnuovo in Avane in the municipality of Cavriglia in the province of Arezzo
  • Umbria, Cesi, Gateway to Umbria and wonders
  • Valle D’Aosta, Fontainemore, Borgo Alpino, They will enhance telecommunication and connectivity infrastructures for the benefit of remote workers
  • Veneto, Recoaro Terme
  • Provincia autonoma di Trento, Palù del Fersina
  • Provincia autonoma di Bolzano, Stelvio

Great Success of the Borghi Call: 1,800 Proposals Submitted by Municipalities

The second line of action aims at the implementation of local cultural regeneration projects of at least 229 historic villages, integrating the objectives of protecting the cultural heritage with the needs of social and economic revitalization, employment revival, and contrasting depopulation. Approximately 1,800 applications were submitted by the municipalities in single or aggregate form – up to a maximum of 3 municipalities with a total resident population of up to 5,000 inhabitants, according to the provisions of the notice, in order to have the 380 million euros envisaged by the plan. The maximum amount of the contribution will be approximately 1.65 million euros per village.

The technical committees set up by the Ministry of Culture will assess the consistency of the project proposals with the implementation processes and timing of the NRRP, and the investigation will end by May 2022 with the allocation of resources to the implementing body identified by each individual proposal. A new call will then be launched which will assign 200 million euros to businesses that will carry out cultural, tourist, commercial, agri-food, and craft activities in the municipalities that are part of the second line of action.

The Quarrel

The one billion euros as foreseen in the NRRP for small municipalities and villages aimed at redeveloping and relaunching tourism, has provoked numerous criticisms, especially from Legambiente and the mountain communities. Criticisms have focused on the idea that the allocation has created a real challenge between villages caused by the criteria adopted in the tenders for the allocation and distribution of funds.

In the meantime, however, the first round has already concluded with the identification of the 21 projects presented that will benefit from the first tranche of 420 million euros with each project financed with 20 million euros. The projects envisage the establishment of new functions, infrastructures, and services in the field of culture, tourism, social or research, such as schools or academies of arts and crafts of culture, widespread hotels, artist residences, research centers, university campuses, and nursing homes where the aim is to develop programs with a cultural matrix with residences for families with smart working workers and digital nomads, thanks also to the challenge.

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About the author

Mario Masciullo - eTN Italy

Mario is a veteran in the travel industry.
His experience extends worldwide since 1960 when at the age of 21 he started exploring Japan, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Mario has seen the World Tourism develop up to date and witnessed the
destruction of the root/testimony of the past of a good number of countries in favor of modernity/progress.
During the last 20 years Mario's travel experience has concentrated in South East Asia and of late included the Indian Sub Continent.

Part of Mario's work experience includes multi activities in the Civil Aviation
field concluded after organizing the kik off of for Malaysia Singapore Airlines in Italy as an Institutor and continued for 16 years in the role of Sales /Marketing Manager Italy for Singapore Airlines after the split of the two governments in October 1972.

Mario's official Journalist license is by the "National Order of Journalists Rome, Italy in 1977.

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