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Published on 01/09/2021 (last modified 01/09/2021)

The Municipality of Riccia, with the technical assistance of the LAG "Molise verso il 2000", takes part in Made in Land, a community project that has the Marche Region and Croatia as a cross-border partner as its leader.
The goal is to improve the tourist reception system in inland areas; an Ecomuseum will be inaugurated in the Fortore valley which will network the territories of that part of Molise.
We talked about it with Pietro Testa, Mayor of Riccia, Antonio Santoriello, municipal councilor with responsibility for culture and Adolfo Colagiovanni, technical director of the Gal "Molise verso il 2000".

Made in Land is a European project of the Italy-Croatia interregional program, of which the Municipality of Riccia is a partner; Mr. Mayor, how did you manage to activate this trans-Adriatic shore?
In reality, we have always participated in projects of this type and we have decided to embrace this too, which includes the participation of a state, a region and even a small municipality like ours.

It is an ambitious project, which sees the participation of many partners, including the Molise LAG towards 2000. The focal point of the project is the systemization of the cultural and natural heritage even of the small municipalities of the internal areas, activating all a series of knowledge exchanges with the Croatian partnership. I want to ask how the partnership was selected, if there was a selection that led to the choice of partners from our region ...
It is obvious that the Municipality of Riccia wants to promote its territory and the entire Fortore area; it is a very large area, including all the municipalities of the Molise LAG, which supports us in the project. We need to promote tourism on a broad scale, because it would not make sense to focus only on Riccia. I would add that we need to promote the whole of Molise, given that it is a small region. The tourist who arrives in Riccia must be accompanied to visit other areas, to show him the nature trails, the churches, the archaeological sites such as Altilia. Only by creating synergy between neighboring and non-neighboring municipalities, results are obtained. We also have the good fortune to border on regions with a high population density, such as Puglia, Campania, which are not so far away; of course, sometimes the condition of our roads doesn't help, but from Foggia or Benevento you can reach Riccia in no time.

I ask Adolfo Colagiovanni of Gal Molise around 2000 to make a brief introduction regarding "Terra di Passo", the project proposal that is part of the more complex and broader Made in Land project, which includes the Virtual Ecomuseum and will be a point of reference of events and tourist movements towards our region.
Where did you start from and how did you arrive at the mapping of the territory, of the places of interest?
In reality, “Terra di Passo” is a project linked to the Municipality of Riccia rather than to Gal Molise.

However, we wanted you to tell us how the Ecomuseum proposal was technically arrived at.
Through a methodology implemented by the Made In-Land project. I'll give an introduction to the methodology of the project, that is, how the pilot action of the Ecomuseum was reached, which will be discussed by the exponent of the Municipality of Riccia, Councilor Santoriello.
The Made in Land project, as can be understood from the title, has as its main objective the promotion of inland areas, therefore it is linked to the national strategy of inland areas, promoted by the Italian Government, and to the enhancement of assets, that is, of natural points of interest. cultural and cultural heritage, preferably belonging to inland areas, which can be visited by tourists, attracted by the coast to inland areas, in the territories belonging to the project partners. It started with a context analysis, through which the assets and good practices for promoting the cultural and natural heritage of the inland areas were identified; governance has been studied, then local management policies have been researched to find out if there have already been financial investments from other European programs. Then, an in-depth analysis of the partners' territories was made to understand what has been done and what can be done. This study led to the drafting of a cross-border strategy for the promotion of inland areas, for a sustainable development of the territory, also providing an action plan that includes all those actions that are to be carried out in the partner countries that will implement this strategy. For example, if the need to protect natural and cultural areas was understood in order to promote them because they are not well known enough, a series of actions were defined to achieve this result. Among the planned actions are that relating to the Ecomuseum conceived by the Municipality of Riccia in collaboration with the Gal, and other pilot actions in the territories of the partners, such as the creation of a smart card to offer discounts or the creation of information points. , while we, on our territory, have decided to focus everything on the Ecomuseum.

The choice of the cultural brand linked to the figure of the De Capua so important to Riccia is also very interesting; I ask Councilor Santoriello how this central element in the project was set up and developed.

As Adolfo rightly said, it is a cross-border project, that is, which connects areas with other areas, in this case, the marine areas of Lower Molise which, as per the project, also include the Croatian ones, with the inland areas of Fortore and of the Matese. For this connection, we have come to imagine a very strong cultural brand, such as to stimulate the curiosity of visitors to Lower Molise, in order to attract them to the internal areas and, at the same time, to motivate and sensitize the inhabitants of the inland areas regarding cultural resources. of their territory. Thus, a mandate was given to develop an innovative idea for the project. The Municipality acted in two directions: from an administrative point of view it launched a public tender to which some companies responded, for the writing of a project that should have contained some key points and also constituted a territorial enhancement brand. This project was presented and called “Terre di Passo in the courts of the De Capua”; the project was then discussed with the Molise LAG and the stakeholders, in two public meetings, to improve it by understanding the real needs of the territory with respect to the ideas and contents of the same. Once improved, an open call was made and after the administrative and evaluation procedures the call was assigned to the winner to be implemented. The project is concretely developed in the creation of a Virtual Ecomuseum that also has a "physical" part, because once the cultural brand related to the De Capua and the two territorial areas to be related, the coastal and the internal one, have been identified the assets, ie the actions to be implemented in the two areas in which 16 municipalities have been identified, 12 in Fortore and the rest of Matese, with Riccia acting as leader. For the enhancement of the area under consideration, the De Capua family act as a common thread, because their history, their "State" goes from Lower Molise to Sepino and for a fairly long period, covering, in any case, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; we also thought of the sites of naturalistic importance, such as the Occhito Lake and the Mazzocca Wood which are part of the area and which at different times have carried out specific functions. Everything is part of the eco-museum project, but it is necessary to distinguish between the virtual Ecomuseum and its real appendix. The first is the one required by the Made in Land Project and we will realize it by setting up a database, made up of maps of the territory, with an online platform in which all the research data and much more will come together. In addition to this, the added value will consist of a small museum that can be visited to be built in the De Capua Castle in Riccia, in which the story of this family, of their Molise fiefs will be told, illustrating all the other residences present in the Fortore area. , that is Gambatesa, Campolieto, Sepino, etc .. We must consider that for the project concerning Riccia 280,000 euros are available, therefore, within the 9 partners of the Made in Land project, a not small slice is available to the Municipality of Riccia. The other Virtual Museum is that of the Municipality of San Leo, in Emilia Romagna, which should be similar to ours, but with a lower economic base.

What lead times should we expect, both for the digital and physical parts of the Ecomuseum?
The call obliges us to finish by the end of December 2021; we do not know if any extensions will be given, which, given the period, may be necessary. We started the process two years ago, with a meeting with the LAG, which was attended by the Municipality of Riccia and other meetings with the various partners, held in September 2019. The last face-to-face meeting took place in November 2019. Since then we have not seen each other physically with partners. European projects follow pre-established steps already in the general project.

I ask Adolfo Colagiovanni to tell us about this long gestation, which can bring tangible benefits not only in the areas affected by the project, but throughout Molise. There is a lot of talk about community tourism, new forms of tourism, ecotourism, walking tourism, and yours is a concrete, solid project. So tell us about the concept of tourism that you have privileged within the Made in Land Project and what are the benefits you expect from its realization.
Once completed, the Ecomuseum will be promoted through a communication campaign, carried out by the LAG both online and with other communication tools, intended to attract tourists from the coast to the interior, which is the goal of the Ecomuseum pilot action. . The Ecomuseum, of course, is only the main action of the strategy of the developed project, which aims to promote the development of inland areas, sites of naturalistic and cultural interest, to also improve the management of these areas, so much so that a observatory that will assess whether the action plan relating to the project will be implemented with the support of the managing authorities of the structural funds programs of the various regions involved. Therefore, beyond the Ecomuseum, the impact we expect is much wider, also for other actions that will be implemented for the promotion of inland areas through the use of additional funds after the closure of the project. That is why the observatory will be created, which will include the stakeholders and partners of the project, with the aim of promoting the sustainable development of internal areas and the implementation of actions envisaged within the cross-border plan of the project. There will be a subsequent part of events, roadshows, crash courses, intended to sensitize the political decision-maker on the issue of the development of inland areas, to deliver this action plan to the political decision-maker, so that also in the next 2021/2027 programming to insert actions, funds and strategies for inland areas, through the promotion of tourism and assets. Therefore, the project is much more ambitious and it is hoped, also through the meetings with MIBAC that will take place towards the end of the project, to be able to sensitize the regional managing authorities about the financing of other similar projects, to counteract depopulation and lack of services. Attention must always be kept high, in order to enhance these territories more and more.

I turn the question to the Mayor Testa and to the Councilor Santoriello. Riccia has always been a pioneer in terms of projects to enhance both the village and the tourist flows and it is realistic to think that this experience gained over the years has been fundamental for the role of leader in the project in progress.
Yes, the project was born in Riccia, but with an eye also to the Fortore area and the surrounding areas, broadening the horizons for a wider enhancement of the territories. The objectives of the Made in Land project are to make natural, cultural and historical resources accessible to those who live there, through information from the Ecomuseum, because very often the inhabitants themselves do not know their heritage. Then, we think about the development of future projects, through innovative strategies, not only local but national and supranational. At this time it is important to give importance to the tourism aspect, which can make the three key moments of the project concrete: development, awareness and enhancement.

We therefore look to the future starting, however, from the needs of the territory, from its attractive capabilities, which need a boost, a systemic promotion, which has not been there over the years. This project will also represent a test to see how the population will react to certain stimuli deriving from cross-border tourism. I would like to ask everyone a question: if the project deadline is set at the end of the year, do you think that the benefits for the territory will be permanent or will be reassessed over the years through intermediate steps of evaluation or re-evaluation of the project, to know and, if necessary, improve its do you hesitate?
From the last meetings, the desire to ask for an extension of six months has emerged. The Marche Region is working to ask for an extension of the times. However, on a technical level, the Ecomuseum will certainly remain online for at least 5 years after the closure of the project and it is hoped that it will remain there forever. On the other hand, the Ecomuseum is a pilot action of the whole strategy and together with other actions, such as the smart card and information points, it serves precisely to test the strategy developed by the project. In fact, after the creation of the Ecomuseum there will be an evaluation phase of the museum itself, to validate its impact on the territory through actions, not only in Molise but also in the other territories involved in pilot actions, to understand its impact also through evaluation questionnaires. This will allow you to review the strategy with respect to the results achieved. This is an experiment that will be presented to political decision-makers to encourage them to test the validity of the actions implemented and replicate them even outside the territories involved in the project, also thinking of other European countries. Hence the idea of ​​the involvement of MIBAC, because it is essential to make policy makers understand the importance of financing this type of initiative.