Coaching Friuli Venezia Giulia for better governance and for a better valorisation of a world class archaeological site



In the middle of February, five Culture for Cities and Regions coaches met in Trieste and Aquileia to help their hosts make the most of their local and regional cultural heritage. The team included KEA European affairs director Philippe Kern, urban expert Nils Scheffler, and city-peers from Lincoln and Lisbon. 

The coaching visit had two main goals:

  • Help make the UNESCO world heritage archaeological site at Aquileia, a driver of economic and social development in the region

  • Improve the newly created regional structure that ensures the global and integrated management of cataloguing, protection, restoration, and enhancement of regional cultural heritage.

While this Italian region is eager to make its cultural assets a key driver of its development policy, the large number of stakeholders involved in the process (region, local authorities, local public, and private stakeholders) makes it difficult for the authorities to achieve that goal.

The archeological site at Aquileia has a great potential to drive the region's economic and social development on account of its historical value, state of preservation, size and uniqueness. The site's enormous touristic potential (near the seaside resorts of Grado, Trieste, and Venice) is also clearly underexploited.

During the visit, the participants considered possible policy actions that could build trust in the local community, which appears to be unaware of the site's true economic potential. A variety of actions were proposed, including co-creation workshops with the population.

The coaches also proposed policy actions to improve the efficiency of Fundazione Aquileia, which is in charge of managing the site. They encouraged the foundation to be more proactive in destination management and business development, and to strengthen cooperation with the local tourism bodies and communication outlets (notably social media).

The coaching visit's supporting documents and report are available here.