Open for You
Since 2005, the project Open for You (“Aperti per Voi”) has promoted voluntary activities to open up heritage sites to the public. The strength of the initiative, developed by Touring Club Italiano, lies in its over 1,600 dedicated volunteers who facilitate continuous exchange with the local communities.
Touring Club Italiano was established in 1894 as a private non-profit organisation. The Open for You project exemplifies the organisation’s commitment to its mission to generate knowledge, promote volunteering and advocate for ethical travel practices, guided by the principles of sustainability and collaboration. The annual cost of the project is supported through individual fundraising, institutional support, corporate partnerships and sponsorships.
Through the collaboration of trained volunteers and property owners, visitors are welcomed and guided through unique heritage sites. The volunteers do not replace professional tour guides; instead, they promote their activities by making these places accessible for guided tours. One of the project’s strengths lies in its ability to engage volunteers of diverse ages and backgrounds, including students, teachers and retirees.
It offers a wide range of cultural programmes and cultural events, organised in collaboration with property owners, which generate value for the places, the local communities and different types of visitors. Through this project, fascinating cultural sites are reclaimed by citizens and tourists alike, from the Renaissance frescoes of the Church of San Maurizio in Milan and the Longobard-era Church of Santa Maria de’ Lama in Salerno to the Royal Gardens of Turin and the rooms of Palazzo Betta Grillo in Rovereto, and all the way to the monumental halls of the Quirinale Palace in Rome.
The success of the Open for You initiative can be illustrated by its impressive numbers. So far, it has opened 85 awe-inspiring places in 35 cities across 14 regions throughout Italy to over 21,000,000 visitors. The dedicated volunteers have donated over 150,000 hours per year to the initiative. Its communication activities across media have reached over 10 million people.
“The initiative’s remarkable impact and engagement are evident in the impressive numbers it has achieved. As a sustainable project that has been ongoing for two decades, Open for You has fostered a strong community with a high level of interaction among its diverse volunteers, contributing to social cohesion and the creation of a robust network”, the Awards’ Jury commented.
“At its core, the Open for You initiative revolves around heritage accessibility, going beyond the confines of museums and encompassing a wide range of sites, year-round. This makes it a unique model. Knowledge transfer is facilitated by bridging the gap between professionals and volunteers through comprehensive training. In terms of policy, the initiative advocates for a tourism approach that prioritises heritage protection and raises awareness among visitors. Its success in overcoming challenges and engaging private entities to open up their cultural heritage sites sets a powerful precedent, demonstrating the potential for broader adoption of similar strategies in other countries”, the Jury added.
Contact: Nadia Pellacani | email@example.com | www.touringclub.it