The content of the program covers 9 days of study consisting of frontal lectures and on-site visits and debates. The last two days will be fully dedicated to students’ researches and final presentations. Additional seminars and didactic sightseeing outside Palermo will be included. The program will take place from the 18th to 30th of June 2018. In order to combine the tight time-schedule with the articulated content of the workshop in an organic structure, five modules have been arranged as follow:


Along with Monreale and Cefalù districts, the Arab- Norman heritage of the city has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List (2015), including nine civil religious structures that magnificently manifest the syncretism between Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures in their architectural style and structure. Between 2016 and 2017, Palermo has been appointed as Italy’s Capital of Culture for 2018. This implies one million euros award to invest in artistic heritage and events. Furthermore, the city will host the 12th edition of Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, previously hosted in Saint Petersburg and Zurich. Through this module, the participants will closely analyse the cultural regeneration process that the city of Palermo is currently undergoing, gaining a relevant role in the international scene.

Day 1: Opening day/Palermo, Sicily and the World Heritage designation

OPENING SESSION: Welcome to the participants and introduction about the workshop’s program, goals and logistic.
Royal Palace – Sala Mattarella.

Introduction to the World Heritage designation, UNESCO programs and UN Sustainable goals

Guided visit: Palermo’s Arab-Norman itinerary and on site discussions about urban changes and future challenges for tourism management.

Day 2: Palermo and the Intangible heritage

Palermo boasts a rich intangible heritage, inherited from the past and still alive in the present. Traditional markets, the religious festival of the patron “Santa Rosalia”, the street food experience, the puppet Theatre are some of ancient traditions already included or potentially eligible for the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible cultural Heritage. Participants will closely know the most evident cases in the city and will contribute with their creative inputs to better express and valorise the intangible cultural value of Palermo.

Introduction to the UNESCO convention for the safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Mediterranean Diet as UNESCO Intangible Heritage (2010)
The Mediterranean diet represents a form of immaterial heritage that brings together food habits of civilizations from the Mediterranean Sea (Italy, Spain, Greece, Morocco, Portugal, Croatia and Cyprus) over the centuries and remained almost unchanged until the 1950s. Today it still promotes social interaction, as the common meal is the basis of social costumes and traditional festivities shared by a given community. It has given rise to a remarkable corpus of knowledge, songs, stories, tales and legends. The Mediterranean Diet focuses on respect for territory and biodiversity, and guarantees the conservation and development of traditional activities and trades related to fisheries and agriculture in Mediterranean communities. The Mediterranean Diet goes well beyond a mere list of foods but concerns the culture of life, social, traditional and agricultural practices.

Guided Visit: Botanical Garden of the University of Palermo
(Considered a huge open-air museum, it boasts over two hundred years of activity. It allowed the study and the circulation in Sicily, in Europe and across the Mediterranean basin, of countless plant species, many of which originate in tropical and subtropical regions. The peculiarity of this Garden is the great variety of hosted species that makes it a very rich place of different flora expressions. It is part of the MuseiUnipa, the Museum System Service Center of the University of Palermo.)

Day 3: Palermo: Cultural Agenda 2018 and events

The module will be structured in a series of debates aimed at analysing the management of the Cultural Agenda 2018, by discussing current impacts and future expectations for the economic growth of the city.

A look to next international events in town: Is there a common strategy to bring these events up?

Guided visit to:
• Massimo Theatre (


This module aims to explore the ongoing process of “urban regeneration” based on culture, through the valuable contribution of different local experts involved in the activities and projects. Students will be guided through a path of knowledge that combines the ancient history of the city and its contemporary face. They will be encouraged to critically express their point of view, pinpointing challenges, opportunities and threats.

Day 4: The case of the Zisa neighbourhood (1)

Exploring its historical side
Quite close to the heart of the historical centre of Palermo, the Zisa district (from the Arabic al-Aziza “the splendid”) was used since the Arab and Norman dominations as a vacation spot and hunting ground.

Guided Visit to:

  • Zisa Castle – summer residence of the Norman kings William I of Sicily and his son William II. The building is an extraordinary combination of the Arab technological cleverness and the Norman architecture. Today the palace is one of the World Heritage sites included in the UNESCO Arab-Norman path (2015);
  • Palazzo S.Elia – The Palace of the Marquis of Santa Croce and Trigona di Sant’Elia was built on a 17th century pre-existing building.  In February 2013, after a long restoration project,  the palace was granted to the Foundation, which made it accessible to general public.

Day 5: The case of the Zisa neighbourhood (2)

Exploring its creative and innovative side – I Cantieri Culturali Alla Zisa

Behind the Zisa Palace, the ex “Ducrot” factories, a famous company for the production of “liberty” furniture (ex. Furniture for Montecitorio Palace in Rome) and large cruise ships of the Florio family until the 1960’s, has been transformed today in a dynamic citadel of culture called “Cantieri Culturali Alla Zisa” extending for almost 55thousand square meters.


Migration is increasing in scale and complexity in many parts of the world. Related challenges to promote intercultural dialogue and at same time to safeguarde cultural identity of cities, are taking new relevance and urgency. Although inadeguate national and international immigration policies, today Palermo, one of the main destination for migrants of the Mediterranean routes, can be considered a significant example of cultural integration. The module aims to understand considerable impacts of the migratory phenomen within the social, cultural and economic environment of the city, spoting potentialities and threats.

Day 6: The case of Ballarò neighbourhood

Historic, artistic and sociological aspects of Ballarò

Situated right between the Martorana Church and Quattro Canti, covering the area of the Albergheria neighbourhood, Ballaró district hosted one of the oldest outdoor food markets, dated back to the Arab reign. Today its flourishing multicultural soul is increasingly vibrant, hosting migrating communities mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa and Bangladesh. Participants will discover the fascinating and controversial side of Ballarò neighbourhood, through a deep historical and sociological analysis.

Guided visit:

  • Ballarò market and the historical monuments of Albergheria neighbourhood, such as Casa Professa, Church of Carmine, San Saverio Church, etc.
  • Piazza Mediterraneo: its artistic requalification and Street Art Lab.

Extra Activities:

  • Lunch at Moltivolti food co-working ( a challenging initiative in the heart of Ballarò
  • Presentation of Moltivolti initiative


The historic centre of Palermo is slowly facing the start of a “renaissance” moment investing several museums, palaces and monuments. The collaboration between public and private actors is revealing a winning strategy not only as source of funds, but also as a tool for developing local cultural entrepreneurship initiatives.

Day 7: Private -Public partnerships invested for heritage conservation and valorisation

Guided Visits:

  • Danisinni: a permanent laboratory – Palermo Academy of Fine Arts
  • Palazzo Alliata di Villafranca

Palazzo Alliata di Villafranca dominates the spectacular Bologni Square. It was built in the XVI century on two pre-existing sixteenth-century buildings belonging to the powerful family Beccadelli of Bologna, one of the most important noble families of Palermo in the Renaissance. Since February 2015, the Association “Palazzo Alliata Villafranca” manages and promotes the development of cultural activities related to the Palace in cooperation agreement with the antiquarians of Palermo, having a small exhibition space inside the Palace.


The module wants to provide an overview about research orientations and local projects focused on the use of technology for the improvement of city’s viability and sustainable growth.

Day 9: The contribution of technology to the city’s sustainability and heritage promotion

Guided visit to: The headquarter of WEPUSH – Social innovation through design

  • UNIPA#Smart Planning Lab: motore della città intelligente e sostenibile”
    Lecturer:Prof. Maurizio Carta

Closing session

Based on the re-elaboration of lectures performed and case studies treated, participants will be invited to undertake an open debate to discuss challenges and potential solutions to promote the cultural development of the city together with main representatives of the Municipality of Palermo and research institutions.

Final work

Participants will have, then, the chance of further elaborate on one of the topics covered during the course and prepare a final paper and presentation. The research work will be carried out in two full days, during which access to libraries will be granted if required.


  • The visit of Selinunte, the European largest archaeological park.

Selinunte is the largest archaeological park in Europe, covering an area of 270 hectares with over 2,500 years of history sought after by tourists as well as researchers and academics from all over the world. Myth, legend, history and culture: the Park of Selinunte it is even more than this. A coffer of treasures far away millennia yet still alive.
It consists of seven Temples, some in good condition, built according to a strict Doric order, the oldest Greek architectural style. The archeological park includes also sanctuaries, necropolis, the caves of Cusa and other relevant traces of one of the most flourishing classical civilizations of the Mediterranean area.

  • Visit of different local companies producing wine, olive oil and wheat products.

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