Established in 2006, the not-for-profit Association Venti di Cultura promotes inter-cultural exchanges along the European shores, supporting institutions and people interested in learning about and teaching the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean and of the European coasts. Founded and based in Venice, Venti di Cultura is interested in the Lagoon as a global entity. The Lagoon is indeed a palimpsest where landscapes, characters, timing, and even culinary traditions are recognizable and interlinked at the same time. But the Venice Lagoon it is also a melting pot of contradictions that could endanger the ancient cultural identity of the residents and the integrity of the delicate amphibian ecosystem. A better understanding of these resources both, cultural and natural, will lead to a better quality of life and the improvement of the local community. According to the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (the Faro Convention) which links the concept of the "common heritage of Europe" to human rights and to the fundamental freedoms, Venti di Cultura aims to link local communities to the Venice Lagoon to build an environment where citizens are willing to express their cultural belonging. A place that, beside its heritage, gives job opportunities and promotes social inclusion. Venti di Cultura will act as a facilitator for the transformation of the territory activating processes of identification with the place, enhancing residency and attracting new people. Furthermore, Venti di Cultura will connect project activities with the environment of local associations/events using cabotages for educational/cultural purposes and sharing knowledge on the role played by urban waterfronts/river banks across Europe in transforming the territory through practicing art and culture in public spaces
Venti di Cultura participed in the Grundtvig LLP 2009/2011, ”TECCN Cultural territorial network for citizens”, dedicated to the enhancement of local cultural resources, such as the material and immaterial heritage of local museums, environments, and productions. It has also participated in the European Project ”River of Opportunities” (Grundtvig LLP 2013/2015) dedicated to the European associations that are managing cultural festivals along the riverfront of the European capitals. In particular, since 2009, Venti di Cultura is managing, along the edges of the Lagoon of Venice, a cultural water-route, Lagunalonga.
In its years-long activity, Venti di Cultura aimed to tie together many of the different ’souls’ of the Venice Lagoon (either the network of local cultural resources or manufacturing, environmental, material and immaterial heritage museums) in collaboration with (almost) all the institutional actors who inhabit it, either municipalities or the many associations of citizens who express the cultural heritage. As a result of its action, eight municipalities of the area have joined the Committee for the EcoMuseum of the Lagoon, under the coordination of Venti di Cultura, as well as twenty organizations have participated in a recent multimedia production promoted by the Venti di Cultura (documentary Lagunalonga). This is an example of a participating process to foster, socially and economically, local communities and to promote cultural heritage as driver of the local community.
Venti di Cultura is now evolving the Lagunalonga in an event, such as an itinerant exhibition about the cultural resources spread along the waterfronts of the Venice lagoon. The local community enhances its sense of identity through a better access to the different knots of this network.
Venti di Cultura is interested in disseminating methodologies that may be compatible with the Faro Convention of the Council of Europe, in this context related to the social value of the cultural heritage. Venice have done experimentation on the Faro Convention, and have, with few other European cities, nominated experts (Francesco Calzolaio and Prosper Wanneare) to the Faro implementation office in Strasbourg. Venti has worked, together with the City of Venice, on the valorization of the Arsenal heritage through citizens participation (i.e. heritage walks).
Francesco Calzolaio is an architect, expert in the transformation of industrial heritage. He is founder of Venti di Cultura, member of ICOMOS, Faro Venezia, Europa Nostra EIHC Committee. He has been recently involved in the Office of World Heritage Site “Venice and its lagoon” in Venice, besides managing a cultural offer of slow tourism on waterways within the Venice Lagoon.
Marta Moretti is a freelance journalist, with a history major background. She has been working for 25 years in a research association based in Venice – Cities on Water, one of the founder members of River//Cities Platform Foundation - and devoted to urban issues, in particular to the relationship between water and city, at international level.