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Italy's revitalized villages in the focus of the Biennale Architettura 2021 in Venice

BORGOALIVE! - #SmartNeighbourhood

May 31st, 2021

Krems (OTS) - The exhibition “BORGOALIVE! - #SmartNeighbourhood“ deals with the revitalization of Italy's villages on the occasion of the Venice Biennale. Curated by the architect Roberto Pirzio-Biroli and organized by the Concilio Europeo dell’Arte, the show will run until November 21, 2021 at the Scuola di Ricostruzione Accumoli, initiated by the Department for Building and Environment at the University of Krems for Continuing Education.

With the 17th international architecture exhibition “How will we live together?” of La Biennale di Venezia, curator Hashim Sarkis sets a focus on the question of living together. In addition, from May 22 to November 21, 2021, there will be 63 national contributions as well as 17 so-called “collateral events” that will transform Venice - the gardens, the arsenal and the historic city center - into a space for art and culture.


The current exhibition in the gallery InParadiso “BORGOALIVE! - #SmartNeighbourhood" of the Concilio Europeo dell’Arte Association (CEA) continues the collateral event "BORGHI OF ITALY #no (f) earthquake" from 2018. The participants in the exhibition, in addition to Danube University Krems for Continuing Education, are the municipalities of Accumoli, Venzone and Esino Lario as well as CEA, illustrate the challenges that the revitalization process of villages entails. With their contribution they are also addressing the issue of living together, the leitmotif of this year's Biennale.


Italy's villages as living space

The importance of the villages should not be underestimated, as they make up 70 percent of Italy's territory. After decades of marginalization, the villages are now receiving renewed attention in political, economic and social contexts. The villages in Italy were particularly hard hit by earthquakes. Based on the specific case of the reconstruction of Venzone, Roberto Pirzio-Biroli, curator, architect and employee at the Center for Architectural Heritage at the University of Krems, designed the exhibition and presented the “participatory method” that was used during the reconstruction. This method can also serve as a blueprint for the construction of Accumolis, which was largely destroyed as a result of a series of earthquakes in 2016 and 2017. With the founding of the Venzone and Accumoli School of Reconstruction, the community's sense of community is also addressed, as the earthquake damaged not only buildings, but also the foundations of the community. Economic and ecological cycles of action are just as affected as social, cultural and religious structures. For this reason, the approach “Dov'era, com'era” (in English: where it was, as it was) was chosen, which Roberto Pirzio-Biroli first used when building the Friulian community of Venzone after its destruction in 1976 due to the earthquake.


About the Accumoli Reconstruction School

In their teaching and research activities, universities and research institutions deal with issues relating to the reconstruction of the cities of central Italy that were destroyed by the earthquakes in 2016 and 2017. This is also the case with the Department of Building and Environment at the University for Continuing Education in Krems, which has for many years been intensively concerned with the preservation of monuments and the protection of cultural property in its university-wide research focus on “Cultural Heritage”. The “School of Reconstruction” in the city of Accumoli is to bundle, network and develop these activities. The school is operated by the partner institutions, the responsible political and official persons in charge, the local planning offices and the affected population themselves.


The premises of the “Scuola di Ricostruzione” are made available by the city of Accumoli to the partner institutions for their teaching and research activities, in coordination with other planned tourist activities.



La Biennale di Venezia: BORGOALIVE! - #SmartNeighbourhood

Duration: May 22nd - November 21st, 2021, closed on Mondays

Time: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Location: Galerie InParadiso, Giardini della Biennale, Castello 1260, Venice

Cost: free entry


Further information:, and

Inquiries & contact:

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.Arch.ETH Dr. Christian Hanus

Dean of the Faculty of Education, Art and Architecture

Danube University Krems

Tel. +43 (0) 2732 893-2654

On the Occasion of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale Di Venezia

BORGOALIVE! - #SmartNeighbourhood

On the occasion of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, the Council of Art presents the unprecedented 'BORGOALIVE! #SmartNeighbourhood', development of the anticipated project within the already Collateral Event 'BORGHI OF ITALY #no(f)earthquake' at the 2018 Architecture Biennale.

The participants describe in the three sections (through the exhibition of tables, projects, installations and images), the challenges undertaken for the revitalization of Italian villages - a theme relaunched by the CEA in Venice - from complementary points of view, which are integrated into the wider project initiated by the promoter: 'IM ITALY'.

Guiding the exhibition path of the exhibition, set up in the historic headquarters of the European Council of Art, InParadiso Art Gallery, is the renewed awareness that every Italian village, to counter depopulation and start a process of regeneration, must build far-sighted policies, 'innovation, sustainability and the adoption of those technologies that make it possible to 'rethink the village'.

Not just a slogan, however, but a real 'project for the re-construction of the habitability' of these places, which represent 70% of the national territory and which for decades have shown that they want to be reconnected with each other and with the rest of the Country, emerging from the context of marginalization in which they have been frozen for years, and which in recent times have become the object of great attention on a political, urban, economic and social level.

The exhibition section curated by Arch. Roberto Pirzio-Biroli for the Donau-Universität Krems (Department of Construction and Environment) starts from here: the experience of restoring (primarily the habitability) of the village of Venzone (Udine) - declared 'the most beautiful village in Italy' in 2017, forty years after the earthquake that hit Friuli -, successfully implemented following the "methodology of participatory reconstruction" under the direction of the same Arch. Pirzio-Biroli, it builds a bridge on the future of the village of Accumuli (Rieti), 5 years after the earthquake in Central Italy.

In analogy to what happened in Venzone, the inauguration of the 'School for the Reconstruction of Accumoli' places at the center of the work the sense of belonging of the inhabitants to the Community, in coherence with a "project for the future" which is the only one that can renew, while safeguarding, the traditions and origins of the village.

The CEA - European Council of Art presents the operational development plan of its 'IM ITALY' project: on the one hand, the 'BORGOALIVE!' Project, aimed at all small Italian municipalities that intend to undertake and communicate a process of reactivation, in compliance with the criteria indicated by the Best Practices defined by CEA (Forum | Recovery | Smart | Green | Mobility | Healthcare | Youth | Culture | Cooperative); on the other hand, the 'BORGOLIVE! Publishing Platform' and the mobile application to support the production, management and dissemination of the opportunities and services that the CEA offers to Italian villages.


The Municipality of Esino Lario (Lecco) was invited by the CEA to the exhibition to present in Venice, after many years of courageous and innovative administration, the results of what has been coined as 'the Esino Method', which in the words of the Mayor Ing. Pietro Pensa is 'a potion made from simple ingredients: imagination, will, participation, planning, and strategy', but which in fact has achieved a true regeneration of the Borgo di Esino, so much so as to trigger - in contrast to almost all Italian villages - the phenomenon of counterexodus. The objectives were achieved thanks to the fundamental active participation of the entire citizenry: after having worked on the drafting of the plan for the adoption of the 9 Best Practices that guide the BORGOALIVE project! conceived by the CEA, the village of Esino Lario receives from the CEA, on the occasion of the Biennale Architettura 2021, the recognition of '1st BORGOALIVE!' in Italy.


The villages participating in the exhibition therefore present themselves to Italy and the international public of this special - and expected - Venice Architecture Biennale, as inexhaustible resources of opportunities, aimed at technological innovation, sustainability and a renewed attractiveness for old people. and new residents.


They are proactive communities capable of developing a new sustainable economic model, in line with the protection of the territory and their original identity.


BORGOALIVE! - #SmartNeighbourhood on the occasion of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia

Promoter: European Council of Art

Curators: European Council of Art, Arch. Roberto Pirzio-Biroli

Participants: Donau-Universität Krems (AUS), Municipality of Accumuli (Rieti, ITA), Municipality of Venzone (Udine, ITA)
Municipality of Esino Lario (Lecco, ITA)
European Council of Art (ITA)

Exhibition venue: InParadiso Art Gallery, Giardini della Biennale, Castello 1260

Inauguration and Press Conference: Thursday 20 May, 11.00 am, InParadiso Art Gallery

Open to the public: 22 May - 21 November 2021 | h 10.00 - 18.00 | free admission | closed on Monday

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