Rome - The year 2017 is the 'Anno dei borghi' organised by MIBACT [Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism]. It will be celebrated with an exhibition enhancing architectural treasures, scenic landscapes and the culinary and agrifood traditions of old Italian villages, which opened on Saturday, 6 May, at the Baths of Diocletian in Rome.
The exhibition, entitled 'Ai confini della meraviglia' [Beyond marvels], will be open to visitors until 9 June. The installation is based on a series of settings which resemble theatre wings. Visitors can walk through as if they were strolling along the streets of Italy's old villages. They have all the symbols that characterise the landscapes of small villages, such as the facades of churches, noble palaces, bell towers, Medieval towers and strongholds.
After the physical settings, visitors are welcomed by a large digital touch-screen which provides information about more than 1000 villages located in 18 Italian regions. Every day, one of the regions will offer information through digital animation on wine and food tours in order to promote their territory. This initiative, coordinated by the Tourism Office of Emilia Romagna, is a good opportunity to focus on the risks which small village centres suffer, including the exodus of the population, the lack of care for artistic heritage, and the neglect of rural areas and their surrounding environments.
"Our 'borghi' (little villages) have huge potential. In many sectors the issue is how to solve the tourism crisis. For us the issue is how to manage growth. The situation is faring better this year than last year. The issue of redistributing visitors needs to be addressed, as we can see by the figures of Sunday visitors to free-entry museums. Just recently, more famous museums have been surpassed by less famous and smaller sites, " said the Ministry of Cultural Property, Dario Franceschini, during the inauguration of the exhibit. "The earthquake was a big challenge, in terms of reconstruction of the villages. And that is something that has to be addressed. It is possible to rebuild the villages as they were by using anti-seismic measures. Another issue is that of resettlement, which entails the creation of new jobs. And tourism certainly plays a major role in rehabilitating old jobs," added the minister.