If yes, how to revitalise them with a glocal approach?

Insights and updates about the incredible story of Villa Buonaccorsi

Credits: Villa Viva online event was produced by Volumes in the context of the New European Bauhaus Festival (June 2022), in collaboration with the Potenza Picena city council, Villae NGO, Good Com, Civicwise, Faro Italia platform.

You are interested in rural heritage revitalisation but you missed our event for the New European Bauhaus Festival in June? No problem, you’ll find below the recording plus some insights and updates about our initiative for the Villa Buonaccorsi in Italy.

Why the future of Europe may lie in rural and remote areas

Europe is full of heritage sites that silently claim a new life, especially in rural and remote areas. Who does not know at least one of those? It could be that castle in the middle of nowhere or that ancient mansion in the village where you were born.

It is common to dream about what they could become if revitalised, but often the dream quickly crashes with a lack of vision, maybe a poor community engagement, or simply because “this is not in a big city so nobody cares”.

What if instead those remote and rural locations had the potential to become the cradle to grow solutions to our most important challenges as humanity?

What if we needed to step back from the chaos of our cities to reinvent the way we live?
Francesco Cingolani (Volumes)

These exploratory questions have been the baseline for Volumes involvement in 2021 in the Villa Buonaccorsi, a neglected 5 hectares Villa of the XVI century with one of the most important baroque gardens in Italy, located in an underrated rural region of central Italy. After being owned by private companies for more than 10 years, and following the mobilisation of local communities in collaboration with international partners, the Italian Ministry of Culture bought the property bringing it back to the commons for the first time in its history.

Villa Summer Camp event produced by Volumes for Villae NGO (July 2021)

The New European Bauhaus festival and Villa Viva event.

On June 12th, during the New European Bauhaus festival we organised the Villa Viva webinar to share this incredible story with a broad audience of citizens, professionals, and representatives of public institutions interested in learning how to replicate similar experiences and activate rural and remote sites and communities.

Villa Viva online Webinar recording

In a roundtable format, we invited international experts to debate the Villa Buonaccorsi case, trying to answer the following questions:

  • What are the secret ingredients behind the unique story of the Villa? Why did the citizen mobilisations succeed in such a difficult challenge?
  • Why and how local and global communities should claim cultural heritage as a fundamental human right?
  • How could this experience serve serve the replication of similar cases, in other remote areas of Europe, and potentially sketch out a network of similar initiatives?
Graphic Recording of Villa Viva Webinar by Nassia Pangiotidi @nassipicreativegr

Villa Buonaccorsi: updates 1 year after the Villa Summer Camp

Precisely one year ago, in July 2021, Volumes produced the Villa Summer Camp event to help the local NGO Villae raising awareness of local citizens and institutions around the Villa Buonaccorsi auction sale, in order to prevent private speculation on this exceptional site.

In 2022, Villae NGO keeps working with local institutions and citizens to facilitate an evolution of the site in coherence with the value of the Manifesto for the Villa, which is based on 10 principles around climate solutions, social inclusion and innovation.

From the field, precisely one year after the launch of the initiative, 3 main updates about the Villa Buonaccorsi project are worth sharing:

  • Villae NGO facilitates official communications between the citizens and the institutions (the City Council and the Region), which are now finalising the bureaucratic process of transferring the Villa from the private to the public domain. Institutions are working to set-up a private Foundation to run and operate future activities of the Villa. The role of private partners and citizens organisations such us Villae and other local NGO is still under discussion.
  • The renovation of the site requires a combined private and public funding. Villae is actively engaged in conversation with potential private partners willing to fund a part of the renovation in exchange of exploitation rights for usages that are compatible with the value of the Manifesto.
  • Volumes keeps supporting Villae NGO by connecting the Villa Buonaccorsi project to international partners (including Farm Cultural Park, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Slowfood and Fab City Foundation), networks and projects (especially European funded projects).

Want to learn how to make it happen?

We are willing to share our experience and replicate similar initiatives in other parts of the world, so feel free to get in touch!

  • Are you a public institution (City Council, Region or Department) and you need to engage communities, private companies and citizens in an initiative for positive local impact? Reach out and tell us about your challenge!
  • Are you a real estate operator, a private company or an investor and you want to fund the renovation of the Villa Buonaccorsi following the values of the Manifesto? Tell us about your plans and we will facilitate the connections with local stakeholders.
  • Do you want to include Villa Buonaccorsi in your next European project submission or connect it to other similar sites and create a network? Let us know about the project, we would be happy to consider it.

Finally, we are also looking forward to setting up a follow-up webinar with new case studies and invited speakers. If you have suggestions of people or projects you think we should absolutely cover, contact us!

Credits, thanks and footnotes

The Villa Buonaccorsi initiative is developed by Volumes in the context of the European Project CENTRINNO.

Volumes want to thank all the invited guest who took part to the Villa Viva webinar:

Villa Viva webinar has been facilitated by Domenico Di Siena and Francesco Cingolani of Volumes.

We would like to give special thanks to Nassia Panagiotidi (@nassipicreativegr) for his contribution to the Graphic Recording of the webinar.

Do you like what we do? Get in touch via our contact page, and our team will be glad to tell you more about our services and projects.