The Basilica of Collemaggio in L’Aquila, the Turin Papyrus Online Platform, and Tramontana Network III are flagships of heritage conservation and research

The European Commission and Europa Nostra announced the winners of the 2020 European Heritage Awards, the most prestigious European recognition in the field of cultural heritage. These awards celebrate and promote best practices related to heritage conservation, research, management, volunteering, education, and communication. This year they honored 21 exemplary achievements from 15 European countries. Of these three are exceptionally important Italian projects: Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio, Turin Papyrus Online Platform, and Tramontana Network III.

From the official “Museo Egizio” website

The restoration of the Basilica of Collemaggio in L’Aquila, seriously damaged by the 2009 earthquake, received the award in the Conservation Category.

Since the disaster, the Basilica has become an important place for the entire community to gather and has acted as a site of commemoration and celebration.

The Jury observed that this restoration truly represents the rebirth of a city. And that the strong sense of  participation of the community in it is an integral piece of the whole. The project is based on a public-private partnership and involved the collaboration of three different universities. Moreover, “it has been carried out with an exemplary scientific basis relating to the seismic vulnerability of the building.”

Both the other two projects that won the award were in the Research Category. In September 2019, Turin’s Museo Egizio launched the Turin Papyrus Online Platform (TPOP). This is a tool to make accessible across borders and disciplinary boundaries the Museum’s collection of papyri that was entirely digitalized. The Papyrus Collection consists of nearly 700 manuscripts and over 17,000 papyrus fragments. The “virtual” conservation of papyri ensures the long-term preservation of written material and its accessibility by anyone from anywhere and at any time.

Lastly, Tramontana Network III is an in-depth study of the intangible heritage of rural and mountain communities in Europe. It aims to safeguard and revitalize this heritage through its documentation and wider dissemination. For the study, Italian researchers collaborated with others from France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. The network, made up of over 50 European entities, was honored also for having implemented a replicable research methodology across the continent.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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