Proactive Reuse of Old Buildings (Italy)

Project Type: Local DNA Mapping

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In the second part of 2018 Lia Ghilardi – assisted by researcher and cultural manager Carlo D’Angelo and Francesco Anderlini, director of the Piana Rotaliana KönigsbergTourism Board – worked on a feasibility study (funded by the local bank, and the local municipality to investigate ways of bringing back into use the Palazzo Martini, a 17th-century building complex in the centre of the town of Mezzocorona in the Trentino region of Italy.

The area of the Piana Rotaliana Königsberg offers unique resources – from landscape to history, heritage, contemporary culture, traditional skills including that of wine production – especially in the area surrounding the small town of Mezzocorona, which is famous for the production of the hitherto undiscovered Teroldego wine. In tackling our task we asked ourselves: what role do historic buildings and locations such as Palazzo Martini play in the life of the communities that live and work there today? What new uses can we imagine for buildings that are so rooted in the mindset of local people and yet feel distant and inaccessible?

The process of mapping brought to the surface a number of opportunities for establishing strong synergies between the local high-quality wine production (including organic wine), the entrepreneurial spirit of the place, the beauty of the surrounding mountainous landscape and a rich history of cross-border cultural exchange (with neighbouring Austria).

After visiting and studying inspiring examples of similar developments – such as, for example, the Cité du Vin in Bordeaux, and house of wine (Case del Vino) type of tourism destination in other parts of Italy and the Trentino region – we proposed to make the Palazzo Martini the core of a distinctive cluster of developments dedicated to promoting, enjoying and learning about the Teroldego wine in all its aspects. To this end we have involved local, regional and international stakeholders (from local wine producers to eco museums experts, tourism and hotel managers, plus restaurant chefs) in a series of brainstorming sessions aimed at generating ideas and testing the feasibility of the reuse of the building for these purposes. The second stage of the mapping will develop throughout 2019 and will involve, among other things, the commissioning of a masterplan for the site and the creation of a consortium of local Teroldego producers keen on quality and innovation of product, but also on promoting the area as a destination for slow travel holidays.

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