(photo credit: Il Fatto Quotidiano 29 August 2016)
The Italian earthquake of the last 24th of August raises lots of questions about the destiny of a beautiful and fragile Italian heritage: the widespread network of small villages. The tragedy of the earthquake forces us to switch on the light over this constellation made of small villages and hamlets in need of attention, restauration and new scenarios.
As person, traveller, PhD researcher and Amavido co-founder, I am deeply in love with the micro cosmo of italian villages. I am convinced not only they represent a sort of social and economical Italian lifeblood but they also picture an urban and rural ‘texture’ common to many European countries and all the Mediterraneum basin. They largely define the identity of these territories and – to some extent – they are also the skeleton and least common denominator of them.
The tragedy of the last Italian earthquake with epicentre in the villages of Amatrice, Accumuli and Arquata del Tronto reminds us of the precious and fragile realm of the – so called – ‘Comuni polvere’; small municipalities widespread through the whole country like dust. Basically ‘Comuni polvere’ are municipalities with less than 1000 inhabitants, a remarkable architectonical and artistical heritage and a significant phenomenon of depopulation. According to the official data in Italy, these municipalities are around 2000 and represent the 60% of the Appennines territories.
A very special cultural heritage…
Focusing on these realities means taking care of a territory, of its local communities and its heritage. The restauration and rehabilitation of houses and ancient buildings should go together with a new vision and new scenarios for these places. They are rich of history, traditions, arts and social capital and – at the same time – they are ‘freezed’ in a stand-by that preserves them from any development and modernisation.
With Amavido, we are working on this direction. Amavido is not simply a slow tourism platform; it is also about the construction of a new scenario for these territories with their strenghts, potentialities, weaknesses and threats. Our work team aims to shed light to the beauty and fragility of small italian villages. We are working to attract interest towards them, to sensitize about the preservation and valorization of the minor local heritage, to create a culture of small destinations and to focus on the uniqueness of vernacular architectures and the social capital of local communities.