Interview with Antonella D’Angelo: Hub coordinator in Appignano del Tronto (Italy)

Before being the Hub’s coordinator, Antonella was the chief engineer of Appignano del Tronto.

The first year of RURITAGE was very intense for Replicators: they needed to involve stakeholders, develop their regeneration strategies and launch their action plan. How is your Rural Heritage Hub progressing?

The first year of work has been very demanding. We have renovated a building that used to be Appignano del Tronto’s infant school and we have allocated the Ruritage project hub there. We have imagined a modular open space, without barriers, where all our stakeholders and the town council can exchange views regarding the growth of our surroundings. At the same time, we have worked together with our stakeholders organizing both collective events and one-to-one meetings to explain the project and understand everyone’s needs to elaborate on a uniform strategy.

Which difficulties have you encountered (if any) concerning involving stakeholders in your RHH? Or, on the contrary, what went smoother than you thought?

Appignano’s stakeholders, after the one-to-one meetings, were excited to take part in the project and effectively work together on all of the proposed activities. I can say today, with the benefit of hindsight, that the time we spent with them during one-to-one meetings was essential for the good starting of the project.

You were one of the first Replicators who participated in a learning visit to a Role Model, Crete Psiloritis UNESCO Global Geopark. What were your learnings from that visit?

The learning visit we took in Crete was very important for us. From at least two different points of view. Firstly, because it gave us a new point of view regarding our Systemic Innovation Area (SIAs) of Resilience. We understood that the horrible ordeal that our surroundings had been through, due to the earthquake events (2016-2017) if properly managed and integrated could turn into something that our community would benefit from. Secondly, it was very helpful to learn in reality all the good practices that have been implemented there — from the earthquake simulator to the school training kits. For this, we must thank the remarkable science communicator Babis Fassoulas, Crete’s RHH coordinator.

Appignano’s Hub is allocated in a renovated building that used to be an infant school.

What are the next steps for your Hub?

On 15 September 2019, we organized an Eco-walk event among the “Grigio Azzurro”, that anticipates an activity that we hope to carry out for all of the years to come. It started in the historic town center and went forward to discover the natural beauty that characterizes Appignano the most: The Gullies. On the route, the participants savored local culinary delights, wrapping up with a celebratory lunch, in which all the local restaurants offered the same menu. For the following years, we hope to enrich this event with shows produced by local Theatre Companies.