Pierluigi Sanna e Alessia Pieretti
Pierluigi Sanna e Alessia Pieretti

A network of Town Ambassadors, an innovative project of the Metropolitan Area of Rome

Rome, Rome and more Rome. Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world but it is also the fulcrum of the social dynamics of all the municipalities in the region and beyond.

A city that had less than 1.5 million inhabitants in the post-war period and which today has about 2.6 million is clearly a great attraction for many people who followed the myth of the big city from the countryside.

One might therefore think that Rome has no connections with the phenomenon of emigration abroad and yet this is not the case. Let's say that if the big city has largely been an attraction for internal emigration, the small municipalities of the province have suffered a depopulation that in part also went abroad.

Migration dynamics change between the municipalities of the Roman walls and those of southern Lazio, while entire communities move to the south, single individuals move around Rome, but what does not change is the love that everyone keeps in their hearts for his own country from which he departed.

From these premises the project between the Town Ambassador Award and the Metropolitan Area of Rome was born to build a network of 20 Town Ambassadors starting from small municipalities.

The promoter of this initiative is the Deputy Mayor of the Metropolitan Area Pierluigi Sanna who knows first-hand the dynamics and feelings experienced by second and third generations of emigrants.

His father is in fact originally from Orune, a Sardinian village in the province of Nuoro, and like many of his friends, he came to the continent to look for job opportunities. In these families the traditions and culture of the roots are intertwined with those of the territory in which one lives and give a wealth of feelings to all the components: one lives in the present without ever forgetting the country one has left.

“I understand the dynamics and feelings of those who have left their country of origin, I experience them in my family and I think we can all consider this wealth as an opportunity. In particular, all those who have gone outside Italy but who have maintained ties with the village of origin can be involved in projects to promote the area and internationalize small local businesses."

In the creative and operational phases that will begin in these days, we have had the good fortune and pleasure of collaborating with Alessia Pieretti, councilor of the Rome Metropolitan Area in charge of Economic Development, Technological Development, Digital Transition, Energy, Tourism Development and administrator of Monterotondo.

Her history as a sportswoman of the highest level has brought her into contact with thousands of athletes of Italian origin: "I had no idea of the phenomenon of emigration until I started competing in international sports competitions and found myself next to athletes of Italian origin who they asked for information about their country of origin.

Italian families have always distinguished themselves in their new countries seeking redemption from the regret of having abandoned their country and for this reason the number of young sportsmen of Italian origin who could help build new bridges with Italy is surprising.”

Pierluigi Sanna e Alessia Pieretti

But let's get back to the scenario from which the project started

The small municipalities have undergone a process of depopulation and emigration (in Italy and abroad) and today most of them have a very elderly population, few businesses that bring the historic center to life where one often perceives a discreet melancholy due to the absence of young people who animate the country with their vitality.

Nonetheless, the effect of the pandemic has been that of a new interest in open spaces and small villages of origin where one feels safe. The mayors have received calls from people who wanted to reopen their house in the village and who would have preferred to spend the pandemic in a small town rather than a big city.

Another very interesting phenomenon is that of requests for naturalization and Italian citizenship by many Italian descendants. On the one hand, these want to rediscover their roots and on the other, they too are looking for a plan B in the event of a new pandemic with a foothold in another nation where they feel they belong due to their family history.

Just ask a mayor of a small village for information to get an idea of the extent of this phenomenon that is happening throughout Italy.

Michael Cavalieri Town Ambassador

Town Ambassador Network

From these premises came the idea of trying to revive the villages by bringing back the descendants of those who left them for a trip or stay. And maybe among these people who have a dreamlike vision of their village of origin, possible new entrepreneurs can be found.

These people, who have lived outside the local context, are the bearers of a new entrepreneurial mentality and a network of relationships that can favor the rebirth of the village as has already happened in some of these (see the case of Picinisco).

The Town Ambassador Award is not only a tribute to the love of those who have kept the connection with their village of origin alive, but it can be the catalyst from which to give birth to new positive relationships and new dreams of rebirth.

Written by:
Claudia Bettiol

Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in...

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