Rivers of Opportunities

Meeting in Venice, Italy

 

The Lagunalonga 2013 confirmed the strong sense of identity of citizens and administrators that animate the Venice lagoon. Organized by the Committee for the Ecomuseum of the Venice Lagoon the 2013 edition has been articulated in a number of events developed in Cavallino, in the Lazzaretto Nuovo island, in the Arsenal and in the Lido island.It has been a test, experimented by citizens and visitors, on what will take place next year as a cycle-water tour all around the Venice lagoon.

 

During the round table, which took place in Cavallino on Saturday 28th, strategies to promote sustainable cultural tourism along the inland waterways attentive to both, the fragile environment and citizens participation, have been discussed. In the contribution of the conference participants – especially administrators and associations representatives – an evident interest in building a network of relationships having as a focus the waters of the internal lagoon of Venice was expressed. This network is the first step to the construction of the Ecomuseum of the lagoon, connecting places, people, traditions, experiences, relationships, territorial and transnational projects, and reviewing consolidated paths with new approaches and new means of transportation.


A great inspiration, in this sense, came from the experiences of the partners of the European Partnership River of Opportunities, which witnessed how London, Münich and Prague were able to catalyze hundreds of thousands of visitors along the riverfront during their cultural festivals. They explained how they were able to achieve their goal, through the patient process of events stretched over time, and spread in a wide area, with music, sports and cultural activities, but also through a skillful communication, able to engage visitors and residents in the sustainable use of their riverfront.


On board of historic boats, the Lagunalonga2013 was then directed to the island of Lazzaretto Nuovo to take a guided tour of the island, managed by more than twenty years by the Ekos Club association, and discovery its archaeolgical remains and its stunning views of saltmarshes. In the huge historical building of the Teson Grande, an evocative concert “Peregrinazioni lagunari tra passato e presente” (Lagoon wanderings between past and present) by Angela Milanese & Piccolo Ensemble for voice ropes and drums, where ancient songs of the lagoon resonated in a unique atmosphere. In the evening, the tour ended in the Arsenal with an overnight visit to the magical space of the large boat dock, in collaboration with the Italian Navy.

 

The next day – Sunday 29th – an “heritage walk” presentation took place at the Lido of Venice, between Art Nouveau villas and large works, including dunes and sea walls, attended by representatives of the organizations who are involved in the care of the development of the Lido. The island is now in a strong crisis of identity, but it seems able to overcome through the promotion of new forms of tourism, focused on cultural resources and on the lagoon, where the island could play a central role, through innovative and participative processes.


The Lagunalonga 2013 was sponsored by the Veneto Region, and organized by the non-profit associations Venti di Cultura, Ekos Club, Faro Venice, Lido Pro Loco, Tra Mar e Laguna, all together animating the Committee for the Eco Museum of the Lagoon, along with the municipal governments of Campagna Lupia, Cavallino-Treporti, Codevigo, Chioggia, Jesolo, Quarto d’Altino, Musile and Venice. The committee is open to other lagoon association who wish to participate.

by Francesco Calzolaio and Marta Moretti


Reflections on the meeting by Adrian Evans, Thames Festival Trust, London

It was fascinating to learn more about this initiative to develop ?environmentally friendly? tourism offers in Venice?s lagoon area. »»

Reflection of German participants

Although it is a great goal to offer new cultural attractions, we learned about the difficulties of a culturally famous city, such as Venice, to develop new cultural places outside the center. Venice´ culture, art and history attracts many tourists from all over the world who come specifically for the Piazza San Marco, etc. To redirect these tourists away from the center towards the Laguna requires rich cultural offerings and a lot of effort to establish new ecological awareness and identities.
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