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In this issue

In this issue - ATLANTIS

Sara Bianchi

Reasercher of Parco Regionale Veneto Delta del Po.


Lucio Bonato

Reasercher in Centro Internazionale 

Civiltà dell’Acqua.


Eriberto Eulisse

Manager in Chief of Centro Internazionale 

Civiltà dell’Acqua.


Francesco Ippoliti

General Fantery.


Domenico Letizia

Writer and Geopolitical Analist.


Stefania Schipani

Istat Researcher. Graduated in International Political Sciences. Specialized in Environmental Economics, she collaborates with the University of Tor Vergata. 


Luca Tatarelli

Journalist.  Editor in Chief  www.reportdifesa.it review.


Luca Taterelli



Annalisa Triggiano



Francesco Vallerani

Professor of  Cà Foscari University in Venezia.


Fabio Vignola

General of Carbinieri Brigade (RIS).


Oscar Zampiron

Reasercher of Centro Internazionale Civiltà dell’Acqua.




Appointments in the World

Appointments in the World - ATLANTIS

Master on transnational crimes and justice 

4 February 2019 Turin

Learning from the past: challenges and opportunities to prevent genocide

Monday, February 4, 2019, at the United Nations Campus in Turin, will be held the opening ceremony of the 2018/2019 edition of the Master in Law on transnational crimes and justice.

The Master is organized by the United Nations Interregional Institute for Crime and Justice Research (UNICRI) in collaboration with the University for Peace (UPEACE).



Week against racism and racial discrimination 

March 21-27

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is celebrated every year on March 21st. The date of March 21st was chosen to remember when on March 21st 1960, in South Africa, in full apartheid, the police opened fire on a group of black protesters killing sixty-nine and wounding 180. This is sadly remembered as the Sharpeville massacre.


The United Nations celebrates World Sports Day

6 April 2019

To promote the value of sport in social cohesion and development.


World Malaria Day 

25 April 2019

World Malaria Day was declared in May 2007 during the 60th session of the World Health Assembly by the World Health Organization Council.


World Population Prospects 

Rome (Italy), 13-17 May 2019

The world’s population is projected to increase by slightly more than one billion people over the next 13 years, reaching 8.6 billion in 2030, and to increase further to 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100.” (World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision. New York: United Nations). These demographic changes are closely interlinked with the issues of access to sufficient, affordable and healthy food.


2019 Year of 

the Periodic Table

In fact, in 2019 it will be 150 years since Dmitry Mendelev’s invention of the periodic system and the Table, a masterpiece of science to classify the chemical elements, still being completed because the number of known elements continues to increase (the last 4 elements they were inserted in November 2016). The UN decision aims to recognize the importance of chemistry for the promotion of sustainable development and the search for solutions to global challenges in various sectors (such as energy, education, agriculture, health).





Dossier - ATLANTIS


Water and liquid heritage

Liquid Heritage and the vision of a new geopolitics of water that looks at sustainability, ecotourism and fundamental human rights

Domenico Letizia

The globalization of society makes it seemingly easier to understand the social and geopolitical phenomena of our time by creating a link between the institutions’ role, international organizations, environmental protection and respect for human dignity. A concrete example of this approach is what we can find in the Horn of Africa, a peninsula that in the last fifteen years has become the protagonist of global-relevant phenomena and dynamics that make it extremely important. In this part of the world, over the last few years, the protagonist of changing social phenomena is the liquid heritage and the ecological protection of water and its relationship with local communities. In 2018 the floods that affected part of Somalia and Sudan caused the displacement of 50,000 and 230,000 people respectively. For the Horn, however, drought, famine and flooding are not the only climatic hazards. Increasing sea levels are also increasingly threatening coastal settlements in Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea level will rise between 18 and 59 cm over the next few decades. Above all in Djibouti, where the majority of the population present in the capital is close to the sea, the rise of water would result in significant damage. The only option for the countries of the Horn, which are marginally responsible for the environmental problems related to the massive use of fossil fuels, seems to be to adapt to the inevitability of climate change and global warming. In short, the slogan becomes adapting to the new climate and water stage. If we also tried to understand, study, prevent and transform these phenomena into advantages? At the center we find water and liquid assets. Although our planet is largely covered, many countries lack this vital resource or do not have enough of it. Due to climate change and increasingly frequent droughts even territories with plenty of rivers and lakes are facing the problem of water scarcity. Having plenty of good does not mean having it available forever. So it is advisable to protect a good like water and it is urgent to think of a better use. Water scarcity is a factor of economic and political instability. Countries that are experiencing the full demographic boom, with very limited sources of water supply on their national territory, must face the problem on a daily basis. In these areas, the availability of drinking water, sewage systems and sanitation facilities is still very far from an acceptable standard, especially in rural areas, where less than 60 percent of the population has drinking water and less than half the toilets. All this determines a total violation of human dignity and fundamental rights universally recognized, triggering what Marco Pannella has denounced for decades: “Where there is a massacre of rights there is a massacre of the people”. Control of river basins could trigger armed conflict at any time in areas where political tensions are already registered. Some examples of this scenario seem to come from the Asian and Middle Eastern accounts. Furrowed by over 5000 waterways that have guaranteed transport and communications for centuries, China is home to the third longest river in the world after the Amazon and the Nile. The Blue River is the largest in Asia. If Chinese civilization was born thanks to the rivers, the Blue River is one of the fathers of China. The first Chinese river, the backbone of an enormous system of irrigation and navigation canals, a major producer of electricity, the Blue River is also dangerous: its floods, produced by the monsoons, have made hundreds of thousands of victims and for centuries the men try to control them. Born from the Tibetan mountains and flows into the Chinese Sea in the giant Shanghai, a metropolis with more than 25 million inhabitants. This vast territory has undergone a rapid process of urbanization and constant exploitation by man who is putting a strain on the health of this huge basin. Another potential source of conflict for the control of water sources is found between Turkey, Iraq and Syria that share the course of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In this region, already the epicenter of numerous problems, the struggle for control of water resources can further exacerbate the existing conflict. However, there are new organizations and projects that are sensitive to the water and the environment and in this regard the Great Rivers International Forum (GRF 2018), organized by the UNESCO Office in Beijing, the Museum of the Blue River Civilization and recently held in China from the municipal government of Wuhan. The Forum represented a valuable opportunity for discussion and exchange for the development of good practices, to raise awareness and consolidate river redevelopment works, networking the main actors at international level interested in the Acqua universe. The experts participating in the Forum stressed the need to start new strategies for the redevelopment of rivers, involving various and authoritative exponents of various academic disciplines. Among the protagonists of the Forum’s work we find Karl Matthias Wantzen (University of Tours), Eriberto Eulisse (University of Venice) and Katri Lisitzin (UNESCO consultant for cultural heritage), who presided over the three sections on which the forum was structured: services river ecosystems, water museums and new urban planning strategies. The session on water museums, chaired by Eriberto Eulisse (coordinator of the UNESCO Global Network of Water Museums and project manager of the Water Museum of Venice) dedicated particular attention to the history, culture and architecture of river water and urban contexts that develop around it, relaunching a stimulating anthropological perspective, an attention to knowledge and to the “water stories” of the indigenous and indigenous communities that still live in such places. Stories and cultures to be integrated into museum education, to be able to offer different research perspectives and differentiated educational programs. Water, essentially, as a problem and an incubator of conflicts must become a resource, a tool for understanding social and political phenomena and a new approach to liquid assets is essential both for its relationship with the community of men and for enhancing, protecting and prevent climate changes that are intimately linked to water and its diffusion. Just think of the new scenarios coming from the Arctic to fully understand what could trigger the future and the fight against the supremacy of water politics. Thanks to the UNESCO International Hydrological Program, the challenges to better manage the rivers of the planet and the water resources available, protecting the fluvial ecosystems needed to regenerate the quality of all waters, are relaunched worldwide thanks to the approval last June of a UNESCO Resolution. The idea is to spread new interdisciplinary approaches that marry tourism, economy, sociology and historical discovery through the project of the “Global Network of Water Museums” which in Italy finds its first and foundational manifestation in the Water Museum of Venice. A project that aims to bring together the most significant testimonies of fragmented assets and “liquid universes” thanks to an innovative on-line platform, aimed at facilitating the location, discovery, history and visit of the sites. The Water Museum of Venice - commissioned by the UNESCO Venice Office and the Cassa di Risparmio di Padova and Rovigo Foundation - is also a “widespread” museum project: a museum aimed at creating a network of institutions and entities that manage tangible and intangible assets. from man in places where water is the dominant element, enhancing and making known the importance of this vital element. In this way, water also assumes tourist connotation, generating capital and employment, in line with sustainable development and environmentalism. Combining awareness and protection of the landscape has an added value if we add to the ethical vision of tourism the enhancement and knowledge of a fundamental and essential asset for all human beings, such as water. The discovery of the territory is part of environmental protection and education mechanisms, applying a reduction in consumption with the introduction of an “eco-tourism” methodology and enhancing the peculiarities of each individual territory. Italy is a river water heritage to be discovered. Seas, rivers and lakes. The success of tourism activities today passes more than ever through water. The theme of water resources management is a fundamental element that can determine the success or otherwise of the same attractiveness of the areas to be exploited. There are several aspects to consider: from the protection of bathing, which may require adequate sewage purification infrastructure as well as ad hoc management, to the presence of an adequate number of fountains and water houses, until the creation and maintenance of wetlands, capable of attracting a tourist flow with strong environmental and naturalistic motivations in the neighboring areas, although only apparently less “attractive”, coastal inland areas. In this scenario, the question of water management becomes a global issue, just as tourism is. The two phenomena can not be considered independent: inequities in the consumption of water in tourist resorts are often characterized by the deprivation of local communities of the access and use of water; the lack of protection and protection of water rights to be guaranteed to resident populations; from waste and from a consumption that is disproportionate to the needs, against millions and millions of people on Earth without access to drinking water. Becoming the protagonists of the discovery and knowledge of widespread channels and watercourses is a fundamental recipe to counteract the growing and unstoppable overbuilding and waterproofing of the territory, the phenomenon of loss of hydraulic reservoirs and the consequent speeding up of all waters, which contribute so much increase the hydraulic risk factors and the vulnerability of the territory, in particular the mountain one. The unsustainability of the situation created in recent decades has led to the need to seek a new balance between man and territory, such as to lead to rethinking the waterways in order to provide them with more space, recovering the naturalness as a primary means for reduce the hydraulic risk, as an alternative to the usual and expensive interventions of “artificialization” and cementification of the river banks. An innovative model of spatial planning has thus arisen, inspired by the respect of the specific functionality of the watercourses and from which great advantages can be gained in terms of environmental safety, hydraulic risk mitigation and to create tourist accommodation facilities. Although it is an unequivocally more farsighted, medium and long-term recipe, of many approaches adopted in the past, as it restores space and oxygen to rivers, enhancing their specific functionality in the ecosystem, it should be emphasized that this model still finds it difficult to spread, because of the different interests at stake, not always attentive to the protection of common goods. Promoting environmentally friendly, respectful and sustainable tourism, which can certainly foster job creation, support the local economy and reduce poverty. And last but not least, applying knowledge, historical and anthropological research to bring back to life students and visitors the true and lived history of our “hydraulic heritage” - that is how each community has relate to its environment and its liquid plots with unique approaches and peculiar, weaving the cornerstones of a civilization of water that still represents a cultural adventure that widens the mind, an irreplaceable cognitive experience of the environment in which we live. The water course, the ditch, the hedge, the wetland, the swamp, the forest, the stable lawn, the cycle path make up the most congenial structure of integration for the exploration and rediscovery of the architectural landscape, cultural and rural. There are therefore environmental, landscape, hydraulic, ecological, economic and socio-anthropological reasons that place the waterway at the center of future spatial planning processes. The integral protection of the watercourse is the cardinal principle for a sustainable and conscious development of the territory. Engaging on “liquid assets literacy” tools allows to generate a new water education by preparing citizens to dedicate the right weight to international and local political choices related to the protection and development of our most precious asset. On the other hand if we think about the situation of Italian waters we find alarming data: only 43% of rivers are in a “good ecological status”, as required by the Water Framework Directive (2000/60 / EC), while 41 percent is well below the quality objective and 16 per cent has not even been classified. The situation of the lakes is even more serious, of which only 20% is “in compliance” with European legislation. In an attempt to reverse this situation, throughout Europe, there are about 100 European non-governmental organizations, to which are added those of the “Living Rivers” Italy Coalition, which ask the European Commission to reiterate the effectiveness of the Water Directive.The campaign has been named #ProtectWater and asks all citizens to be heard to defend European water resources and rivers: “The Water Framework Directive 2000/60 / EC is a fundamental instrument to guarantee the protection of water resources and the scale more effective intervention to protect our waterways and ensure safety “, reads the appeal launched by the WWF website. “Fresh water is one of our planet’s most precious and non-renewable resources. Despite its fundamental role, only one percent of the world’s water is sweet and accessible, and that 1% is at risk. According to the latest data, 60% of rivers, streams, lakes and European wetlands are not in good health, “the activists report. “The destruction of water resources can not be stopped without effective legislation. In Europe, we have a very strong law that protects rivers, streams, wetlands, coastal waters and aquifers: the European Water Directive. Furthermore, this directive foresees that the already damaged waters will be restored to a state of good health at the latest by 2027. But unfortunately, European governments want to change the law, weakening it. All this could have devastating effects on our water resources, and everything, including our own life, depends on them, “the activists denounce, launching a campaign to collect signatures at the European level as their first objective. This complaint is accompanied by that of UNESCO experts because the destruction of water resources would also result in the disappearance of projects related to ecotourism. The importance of a new vision of water, as reaffirmed by Unesco’s planning, has also been re-launched by an Encyclical written by Pope Francis, entitled “Laudato sì. On the care of the common home “. Pope Francis recognizes that the world is spreading sensitivity to the environment and the water resource and concern for the damage it is suffering. However, it keeps a look of confident hope on the possibility of reversing the route: “Clean drinking water is a matter of primary importance, because it is indispensable for human life and for sustaining terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems ... While the quality of water available worsens constantly, in some places there is a tendency to privatize this scarce resource, transformed into goods subject to market laws. In reality, access to safe drinking water is an essential, fundamental and universal human right, because it determines the survival of people, and this is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. This world has a serious social debt to the poor who do not have access to drinking water, because this means denying them the right to life rooted in their inalienable dignity. This debt is partly offset by greater economic contributions to provide clean water and purification services among the poorest populations. However, there is a waste of water not only in developed countries, but also in developing countries with large reserves. This shows that the problem of water is in part an educational and cultural issue, because there is no awareness of the seriousness of such behavior in a context of great iniquity “. We are effectively returning to fundamental rights and therefore to the political approach and pressure to be exercised in international and state organizations, to rethink, in a few words, the geopolitics of water. 




Dossier - ATLANTIS

 Water and its landscapes in Veneto from sources to the OPEN AIR Museum.

 Francesco Vallerani

Which disciplines and sources are useful to census, interpret and enhance the water landscapes in Veneto, in order to allow an adequate promotion in museum and tourism? Since the last decades of the last century, the hydrographic network of Veneto has been widely considered by various disciplines to reconstruct its evolutionary dynamics through the identification and study of multiple types of documentary sources. Archaeologists, historians, geographers and planners, following their specific methodological procedures, took into consideration the wide range of documents, historical maps and photographs preserved in the Veneto archives. To these abundant documentary memories there is also an equally conspicuous environmental heritage, consisting not only of fluvial tracks but also of the complex sedimentation of hydraulic artifacts able to narrate the ancient familiarity of the Venetian people with the waterways, large and small, the lagoons and coastal areas.

Between the alpine relief and the Adriatic coast, the Veneto is in fact a territory rich in surface waters, whose outflows fed by the mountains have allowed the formation of the vast alluvial plain that slopes with increasingly less pronounced slopes towards the coastal strip. This plain is the result of the constant accumulation of materials carried by the numerous rivers that descend from the Alpine and Pre-Alpine arc. The proximity to the sea is certainly an aspect not to be neglected, both because it gives a clear geographical personality to these territories compared to the wider expanses of the Po valley to the west of the Adige, and the presence of suggestive hydrographic connections between river branches and the succession of a peculiar amphibious interface. An interface that characterizes the Venetian coast, from the Po Delta to the lagoons of Caorle, as the largest wetland in the Mediterranean.

The complex and age-old evolution of anthropic paintings has reduced the free expansion of natural dynamics, on the other it has led to a suggestive morphology due to the use of the opportunities offered by the rivers. Archival sources show a very close relationship between hydrographic network and socio-economic dynamics, with particular regard to the progress of hydraulic engineering, aimed at the agronomic redemption of vast wetlands, real construction of the anthropized countryside, in which the planning and operational phases they never only concern the productive and settlement field, but also the cultural, social and symbolic processes that justify and explain the role of the community in the environmental evolution. This explains the extraordinary abundance of photographic documentation conserved in the archives of the Veneto reclamation consortia, which in many cases lies, unfortunately, in a dusty mess and with the risk of dispersion, pending a pitiful safeguard and cataloging. From these archives we can start to recover a first series of documentation.

These are mostly repetitive shots and without any aesthetic pretexts, but which nevertheless carry out the precious task of passing on the extraordinary efforts made to transform the territory, draining thousands of hectares of marshes. In this case, water is the enemy to be defeated, lifted and moved away from the collectors thanks to the water pumps. The embankments of the navigable canals are turned into docks where they can comfortably dock the cargo boats. But the vast and flat horizons of the Po delta are distinguished above all by the value of aquatic landscapes whose naturalistic component reigns supreme. Without wanting to count among our sources the now very copious and original filmography referable to the great river ...

The anthropic action on the Veneto hydrography is also evident with the widespread construction of artifacts such as irrigation ditches or water seals, to strengthen the protective functions of the fortifications. In these cases, the hydraulic layouts often intersect with the historical buildings, producing valuable landscape units, as for example with the Contarina canal at Piazzola sul Brenta. Equally fascinating is the combination of hydrography and military construction, an effective demonstration of how the hydrographic element - often combined with the secular practice of navigation for inland waters - plays a strategic role in the location of city walls and castles: the Catajo castle, the the fortress of Monselice and the castle of Valbona that rise along the Euganean channels are proof of this. But the photographic sources also have an important memorial role, demonstrating how in many cases the burial of the river beds has unfortunately erased forever the presence of water and its landscapes. Numerous photographs of the last century represent a precious source capable of restoring situations altered by urban expansion and socio-economic transformations. These are testimonies that anticipate the emotional and functional separation between the inhabitants and their rivers or water spaces. It follows that the use of photographs of the past is now recognized in many urban contexts across the Alps as the first step in the rehabilitation of ancient ties with the presence of waterways, at the base of ever more widespread recovery operations of river views (the so-called waterfronts) which is generally followed by the ecological rehabilitation of water bodies. This is the case, for example, in England, France and the Netherlands, thanks to the active involvement of associations, citizens and volunteers who have contributed strongly to the recovery of waterways.

In this sense it is interesting to consider the potential inherent in the pilot project of the Water Museum of Venice, which has its roots in Padua and was created to enhance and promote water landscapes and hydraulic artefacts with a view to “widespread museum”. The Specola tower and the surrounding water spaces, the Portello river port and the large portions of urban spaces crossed by the hydraulic ring and the Piovego still have the evocative power to restore ancient liquid suggestions. Padua has in fact lost much of its character as a water city after the unfortunate burial of the internal canal, which ended in the early 1960s. Today, with the change in collective perceptions and the relaunch of numerous projects along the city walls, such a proposal would certainly be unattainable. On the other hand we must not forget the network of navigable canals that from the Middle Ages connected the city of the Saint to the nearby Euganean hills; an artificial network of waterways, used over the centuries for drainage purposes but also for the transport of troops, goods and trachyte - the gray volcanic stone coming from the hills of which Venice is paved.

The situation is very different in Treviso, where even in the most hectic years of building speculation its aquatic character has remained unharmed offering, starting from the placid waters of the Sile and the landscapes that draws with its numerous resurgence tributaries, a less dramatic caesura . On the other hand, the Adige in Verona, undoubtedly the most imposing urban hydrography structure in Italy after the Po in Turin, reveals a wide range of aquatic horizons and European scenarios, so much so as to recall the eighteenth-century vedutismo of Bernardo Bellotto. While Belluno and its valleys, set by the waters of the Piave, find with the rafts and the timber trade a natural harbor of destination in Venice

In fact it is Venice and its lagoon that attract the activity of photographers since the beginning, activating in the search for the authenticity of the people, moving away from the usual pre-eminence of urban monumentality to dwell on the fishermen, the gardeners, the squeri, the boats and their sails . An accurate exploration of how photography has greatly contributed to the iconic consecration of the Veneto of water would be opportune, focusing initially on the picturesque way of finding among the salt marshes, the casoni and the islands of the less known lagoon of Venice, as well documented at the end Nineteenth century in the shots of Carlo Naya and Tommaso Filippi or in those collected in the catalogs of Ongania and Alinari, and then head the following towards the immense branch of waterways, canals, mills, ports, docks found between the hydrographic mesh of land.

But a discourse on the relationships between water landscapes and photographic documentary sources can not ignore the progressive consolidation of an aesthetic taste towards shared and convinced appreciations for the landscapes of water, which could start at least from the Petrarch’s praises of clear, fresh et sweet waters. Aesthetic appraisals that gradually spread with the consolidation of the hydraulic control of rivers, springs and lagoons. Water landscapes thus become an evocative patrimony of scenarios able to express the complex interacting between natural conditions and human interventions, so much so as to constitute in all the western culture one of the most recurring iconic themes found in landscape painting.

The construction of a specific amphibious imaginary from which to start an effective reading of the hinterland of Venice is in fact widely reflected in the iconographic evolution of Venetian painting since the late fifteenth century when, seizing the potential of prospective studies, great importance is attributed to the return of accurate landscapes that are the background to the prevalence of religious scenes. And among the features of the landscape units found in the paintings of Giovanni Bellini, Cima da Conegliano, Giorgione up to Jacopo Bassano, there are plenty of quotes from streams, banks, rivers, lakes, but also ports, cities, mills and rafts famous frescoes attributed to the school of Paolo Veronese, decorating the main floor in the Villa dei Barbaro in Maser, almost take on the task of a typological account of specific hydraulic geographies.

In this regard, an accurate study of the evolution of the presence of amphibious subjects in the history of Venetian painting would be very useful, up to the most recent artistic results of amateur painters who still today place their easel on the banks of a river or over an embankment. , attracted by the picturesque character of the outflow that laps the various succession of arboreal wings, sometimes interrupted by the elegant silhouette of a rustic dwelling, or by the increasingly rare presence of a traditional mooring boat, evoking the charm of ancient nautical customs. Discoverable from the Sile to the Po, from the Riviera del Brenta to the Euganean canals, where you can still see the elegant silhouette of some traditional wooden boat.

It is not easy to make an account of the immense amount of work dedicated by today’s photographers to the fluvial landscapes of Veneto, being able to have a vast bibliography of monographs dedicated to individual watercourses with large and significant photographic equipment, of various articles on glossy magazines of travel, of excursion guides to the rediscovery of the territory and of leaflets aimed at the tourist promotion of the coastal resorts. Equally significant is the popularization of popular iconography that celebrates the physiognomic quality of the riparian landscapes through the printing of calendars, postcards and posters of village festivals. It is a sort of iconic consecration of “minor” environmental emergencies that can be identified at the margins of the usual destinations, such as the coastal strip, the Dolomites reliefs and the cities of art, so celebrated by the consolidated national and international tourist demand.

In the last few decades there has been an increased redemption of the minor river segments and their hydraulic patrimony, artificial reservoirs created following the removal of aggregates, ditches close to ancient city walls, drainage systems that cross the flat expanses of the landscapes reclamation and amphibious sites around the numerous resurgences of the average plain. This dusty distribution of residual naturalities is fragmented and vulnerable among the “emerging” territories of productive urbanization, of the rampant residency, among the increasingly cumbersome commercial and road infrastructures.

From these reflections on the fragmented Venetian universe of water landscapes and on the related hydraulic, tangible and intangible, even “minor” patrimony, we started to develop in collaboration with the UNESCO Office of Venice the platform of a digital museum called Water Museum of Venice. After careful census of assets carried out on a pilot area, it was decided to proceed by selecting the excellences, so as to first of all promote the idea of a real “diffuse” water museum. Such to understand and represent, in its ideal extension, the civilization heritages of the water of the Tre Venezie. A museum widespread throughout the territory, as a sum of places, experiences, artefacts and landscapes. And such as to reflect the infinite hiking, tourist and leisure potentials. 




Dossier - ATLANTIS

 For a more sustainable development

 From the Water Museum OF VENICE TO UNESCO’S GLOBAL NETWORK of Water Museums.

 Eriberto Eulisse

Last June UNESCO baptized in Paris the new alliance between the International Hydrological Program (IHP) and water museums. A special Resolution approved by the UNESCO-IHP Intergovernmental Council establishes its existence in order to spread to the broader public the need to adopt new paradigms of sustainability. To awaken consciences. Starting from the uses of water, experts say, which are at the center of the 17 objectives of Sustainable Development (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030.

But what do the “water museums” teach today? And what role can they play in achieving the SDGs? They have very different sizes and shapes. They are located in every corner of the world and gather refined heritage and knowledge over the centuries. And even if they do not make headlines for assaulted journalism, they have been active for decades to educate millions and millions of young people in a healthier environment and a better world. Some express themselves with the language of natural sciences, others with that of archeology, ethnography or geo-historical sciences. Then there are museums of the aqueducts, museums of navigation or reclamation; museums of science, ecomuseums and pure “digital museums”: online platforms that put on line a series of “minor” hydraulic assets - yet fundamental to understand the evolution of the territory and the landscape. Places and environments shaped over the centuries, but today we are often destroying in a few years, unaware of their value. Unable to understand its meaning and function. If not when it’s too late. For this it is necessary to know them more: to preserve them, manage them and pass them on.

There is always a lot to learn from past mistakes - and this also applies to good water management practices. That’s why we can not assume that young people know the names of waterways or ancient canals that pass behind their homes or schools. And they discover its existence only when they overflow or are dry, with lots of headlines in the press! It is the antithesis of a careful and daily management. And of common sense. Today more culture is needed: a culture of prevention. We need it like bread today - as it is the perfect antithesis of the “emergency culture” - the one practiced nowadays by many politicians, also because it is a harbinger of lucrative speculations.

Even if with different narrative and exhibition approaches, all the museums adhering to the ambitious UNESCO Global Network project have as their guiding thread an irreducible element: water, in its many and varied expressions. They document techniques and models with which humanity has benefited from this, generating abundance, wealth and even refined artistic and architectural products. They illustrate the ways in which we tried to keep the fury of the liquid element at bay, to limit the calamitous events as much as possible. Adapting to the most diverse and extreme environments - from the desert to the rigid polar climates. Exciting genius solutions everywhere, with practices tested over time, with low environmental impact and designed for the benefit of several generations - therefore “sustainable” by definition.

It is therefore the set of these water museums, scattered in the most diverse latitudes of the globe, which makes it possible to form an ideal compendium of the historical “worlds of water” with which humanity has lived for centuries. What they expose and pass on is essential to consolidate a “holistic” approach - a dimension necessary to plan a better future, the fruit of dialogue and the fusion of different disciplinary specialisms. This is why UNESCO wanted to amplify the visibility of such a World Network: to compare civilizations and “worlds of water”, making the past and the present dialogue. To talk about the future by showing concrete examples and good sustainability practices: to young people, politicians, officials and administrators. Because in the era in which we live there is no more time to waste.

Many, too many world leaders prefer to ignore or, worse, deny what is plain for all: the dramatic loss of biodiversity, the vagaries of climate, global warming and melting glaciers - a phenomenon we have sadly under our eyes starting from our Alps - with the consequent rise of the seas. Extreme climatic events that see in the water the fulcrum of the painful changes to which we will have to get used to. With longer periods of drought, heat waves and consequent desertification, or loss of fertility of the soil. But also with torrential rains and floods, tsunamis and other unpredictable anomalies - like the one that in November 2018 uprooted millions of trees in the mountains of Belluno and Trentino. Phenomena exacerbated by pollution and progressive cementification. And the result can only be univocal.

If today UNESCO has therefore decided to focus on museums, it does so to spread the criticality of the situation we have arrived at. And to show us with direct and concrete examples - those handed down from many small and large museums all over the world - how it is possible to involve the public to implement a decisive change of course.

To get out of the ecological crisis, it is no longer enough to investigate the problems with further scientific studies, the results of which accumulate on the shelves without producing concrete results. The results achieved by science must be disseminated more widely in society. Making as many people as possible as aware. Just like water museums do, rebuilding and narrating that set of knowledge, techniques and heritages - past and present - related to the management and control of water and rivers. Modern knowledge today must be confronted with ancient knowledge, with the practices handed down, with the brilliant creation of “unique” and non-homologated water landscapes. An example above all: Venice and its lagoon. Would we be able to recreate it today with our knowledge and modern techniques?

It is from these assumptions that we must start again to plan a more forward-looking use of water. To reduce waste and pollution. To revive rivers and precious aquatic environments. To found a new coexistence with water! In this sense UNESCO experts speak of a “new culture of water”, also asking museums to use and disseminate this new language.

Italy is a country extraordinarily rich in cultures and testimonies of water civilization, perhaps as few regions in the world. Yet it seems that today our sensitivity towards certain themes is inversely proportional to the inheritance received! Singular paradox.

In contrast to the lack of sensitivity of those who govern us towards the SDGs, it is perhaps not coincidental that the ideation and implementation of the UNESCO World Network project originated in Italy. The World Network finds its roots in Padua, thanks to the pilot phase called Water Museum of Venice and realized by the International Center for Water Civilization in collaboration with the UNESCO Office of Venice and the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation of Padua and Rovigo. The “liquid assets” put into the network by the project, initially 35, have become around 70 thanks to the new phase that now includes the Po and its huge delta. So we can finally know better and admire the excellences of natural and cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, of these territories through a unique platform: www.watermuseumofvenice.com

In this digital museum we find, of course, the classic museums, large and small, that collect water collections in a building. From the Botanical Garden of Padua to the Museum of Geography, both managed by the University of Padua; from the Museo della Navigazione Fluviale of Battaglia Terme to the Museo delle Idrovore of Santa Margherita in Codevigo; from the National Archaeological Museum of Adria to the homonym of Fratta Polesine; from the Museum of the Large Rivers in Rovigo to the Museum of the Reclamation of Ca ‘Vendramin in Porto Viro …

Museums, but not only. The concept of “digital museum”, as this project demonstrates, coincides and identifies itself with that of “diffuse museum”. Including water places, contexts, environments and landscapes, with its hydraulic heritages. The museum therefore coincides with the territory. From the urban spaces of Prato della Valle, in Padua, designed by the unmistakable touch of the fluid element, to the historical fountains and water games created in the sumptuous Baroque garden of Villa Barbarigo, in Valsanzibio; from the fluvial Portello port, immortalized in the paintings of the Canaletto, to the sumptuous Roman thermal complex of Montegrotto; from the Via delle Valli di Rosolina to the Punta Maistra lighthouse on the river Po; from the sacred and healing waters of the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna del Pilastrello, to Lendinara, to the Benedictine monasteries committed for centuries to reclamation works, with the Abbeys of Pomposa, Praglia and Correzzola; from the Golena Ca ‘Pisani of Porto Viro to the Litoraneo Botanical Garden of Porto Caleri;

from the ingenious navigable waterways built by the Serenissima for the transport of goods and soldiers close to the Euganean Hills or along the Delta del Po range to the imposing castles built to garrison them (Este, Monselice, Battaglia Terme and Valbona); from the coastal villages born along avenues of inland navigation (Porto Levante, Loreo, Badia Polesine, Battaglia Terme, Bovolenta, Pontelongo, Pontemanco ...) to the elegant Venetian villas that reflect, in the water, all their magnificence. Unique patrimonies that arise, not surprisingly, in proximity and in reason of the water.

To this museum of “digital” water but “widespread” in the territory we wanted to add, finally, a last piece: that of contemporaneity. Incorporating the latest examples of “water culture” created by current scientific and technological knowledge. How does contemporary knowledge translate into concrete good practices for a more sustainable use of water? For this reason we find included in the digital platform, alongside the heritage inherited from the past, also some current models of water management. With examples and good practices to be handed down to the future: river requalification projects, recharging water tables, promoting water landscapes through new sustainable ecotourism practices ... How many good “water civilization” practices are produced today in Veneto? And who has the duty to censor, support and disseminate them?

The other not secondary dimension is the tourist one. Only starting from the awareness of our amphibious origins will we be able to transmit it to the communities and young people to involve and excite tourists to “minor” heritage. Visitors who perhaps have the advantage of better appreciating the unique heritage that we have at home and that we often take for granted. Abandoning them and making them invisible, as in the case of inland waterways built by the Serenissima. Many pieces of a hydraulic mosaic dispersed and increasingly fragmented, but unique and unrepeatable. And with a decidedly unexplored tourist potential. Examples of regeneration of the navigable waterways of England, Holland, Germany and France teach.

Water Museum of Venice. Name of a project that is at the same time a work program, aimed at censoring and promoting the natural and cultural heritage of water civilizations to stimulate new and creative approaches. Far beyond the historic city of Venice whose name it bears, but with the intention of embracing the whole Tre Venezie area: from the Po Delta to Trieste, from the Julian Alps to Lake Garda. An area that includes not only Venice (and its Lagoon, also inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List) the vast territory that, through small and large river corridors, touches the different watersheds of the northern coastal hinterland Adriatic. Regions in which the Serenissima has impressed, over the centuries, an indelible and undeniable mark. Suffice it to mention the names of the main rivers that Venice has ruled, deviating its natural course, to protect its interests. From Sile alla Piave, from Bacchiglione to Brenta (with its renowned Riviera), from Livenza to the river Po, whose main delta branch was diverted by the Republic in 1601, in Porto Viro, to the detriment of the Estensi of Ferrara.

With this approach, the Water Museum of Venice has in fact constituted the experimental phase of the World Water Museum Network project that UNESCO wanted to make its own. The spark came in 2017 when 29 museums from all over the world met in Venice to form a permanent network, which today has almost 80 members. According to Philippe Pypaert, spokesman of the project for UNESCO, this is but the core of a much larger family. Suffice it to say that the only Chinese network of water museums - also founded on the stimulation of the Water Museum of Venice - has recently counted as many as 105 water museums throughout China. Among these stands the National Water Museum of China, based in Hangzhou. Inaugurated in 2010 with an exhibition area of ​​60 thousand square meters, stands with its twelve floors of height on a naturalistic oasis and a waterfront redeveloped along the Blue River, with architectural references to the style of traditional pagodas. Inside you can admire the historical hydraulic conquests of China to govern the waters of the rivers, develop a flourishing agriculture and tame destructive floods. In addition to exhibiting the reconstruction of ingenious artifacts, large and small hydraulic factories and typical river villages, once populated by a myriad boats, the museum traces more than three thousand years of history illustrating techniques and inventions that have revolutionized the lives of millions of people.

In the spectacular Museum of the Civilizations of the Blue River, the different and precious river ecosystems that characterize the course along its over 6,000 km of length are reconstructed and illustrated, thanks to the latest generation of interactive technologies. In addition to the naturalistic aspects, it collects the most varied testimonies of civilizations that have sprung up along its shores: from agricultural practices to the precious manufactories made in the ancient water factories, from archaeological to artistic artefacts, from religion to music. Opened in 2015, it has been visited by an average of one million people per year. In the annexed exhibition area (inaugurated in July 2018), which collects the donation of an American patron, the largest collection in the world of animals living in the ecosystems of the ten longest rivers in the world is exhibited: Amazon River, Nile, River Blue, Yellow River, Mississippi, Colorado, Congo, Danube ... Through different and evocative settings on a natural scale the visitor crosses glaciers, forests, savannahs, steppes and deserts populated by small and large mammals including dinosaurs, penguins, giraffes, rhinos, tigers , ostriches and elephants, but also reptiles, fish, birds, insects. A world full of shapes, colors, sounds and emotions.

The submerged Museum of Baiheliang, in Fuling, in the upper part of the river Azzurro should also be mentioned. In addition to sculptures, paintings, maps and historical drawings, he exhibited a precious collection of calligraphy engraved over the centuries on rocks lapped by the river. They were built next to one of the oldest hydrological stations in the world: massive blocks of stone carved in the shape of a fish were used to record, as a nilometer, the river levels and predict future cyclical trends. The refined calligraphy on the rock hand down stories, anecdotes, poems and philosophical and religious maxims on the changing life cycles of the river and the fate of its inhabitants. No less fascinating is the path that takes the visitor 14 meters deep to explore the depths of the river. The increase in water is due to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest in the world. It is like being in a submarine while the elegant submerged calligraphies are scrutinized by the portholes, between the shriveled shrimp and fish, while large transport ships float above the tourists’ heads.

These Chinese museums educate millions of people every year on the themes of water and sustainability: they are an interesting indicator of the Asian giant. They reveal the new values ​​that are emerging in China, where we finally find environmental protection and the energy transition to renewable energy sources at the top of the priority scales. In 2017, China has assembled more than half of all the installed photovoltaic power in the world. Is it perhaps the beginning of a new era, which also sees in the water museums some valid ambassadors of new sensibilities and attitudes?

But members of the World Network are not limited to China, of course. On the other side of the world, there are no less interesting testimonies and models. The Yaku Parque Museo de l’Agua is active in Quito, Ecuador. Built on an old water purification plant of the early twentieth century, it offers interactive exhibits that attract thousands of visitors every year. It is a particularly active museum with indigenous communities to study and preserve good social water management practices. In addition to the aquatic environments, in their complexity. As the curator Paulina Jauregui remembers “it is not possible to separate the water from the environment”. For this reason, in its gardens, it welcomes, with pride, the plants that have become extinct in every other corner of the capital.

In Canada we find the Museum of Steam and Technology in Hamilton, near Toronto. It collects impressive machines and hydraulic artifacts that have marked the industrial takeoff of the country between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Today the museum is also very active in the arts and sustainable development: works with sensitive and attentive artists on issues of sustainability and climate change. To bring together science, nature and culture, says Ian Kerr-Wilson, the museum must offer a “holistic” and not a sectoral view.

In Europe, an example of a museum that focuses on a similar industrial heritage linked to water comes from England, which adheres to the network with the National Waterways Museum of Ellesmere, near Liverpool. Here the industrial revolution of the late eighteenth century was made possible thanks to the artificial network of navigable waterways that allowed to transport the most varied goods throughout the country, and then reach the rest of the world. The Museum contains a unique collection of historical boats and artifacts that attest to the effervescent life that once animated the canals. Although abandoned after the second war, these waterways have recorded a real rebirth in the last two decades, thanks to the farsighted redevelopment projects that today produce dizzying tourist revenues. As director Graham Boxer states, “museums are worth only if they have something to say to the present and the future. This is why we must always find new ways to tell the stories that have seen water as the protagonist “.

In the old continent we find several types of museums: from those of the natural sciences, with the MUSE of Trento in mind, to those of the communities, with the Court of the Waters of Valencia, to those of the aqueducts: Museo de l’Agua of Lisbon, Musée des Egouts in Paris, Water Museum of Lemesos (Cyprus), Water Museum in Cluj (Romania), etc. In Russia, the St. Petersburg National Ethnographic Museum has just inaugurated a fascinating exhibition on the populations and traditional cultures developed along the Volga river. In Iran, the Yazd Water Museum tells the story of the most ancient civilization forms of the fertile crescent, born not only thanks to the control of the great rivers, Tigers and Euphrates, but also - and above all - thanks to the ability to create and manage a endless number of underground channels. They are the fruit of the most advanced hydraulic sciences of the period on a planetary scale. Thousands of kilometers of underground drainage tunnels were indispensable for developing thriving agriculture and feeding prosperous cities in a semi-desert environment. Egypt and Morocco also host museums dedicated to Qanats and Foggara, similar systems for the economical use of water, where it is scarce in nature.

In Africa, in Burkina Faso, the Musée de l’Eau of Ouagadogou focuses on the issues of hygiene and health: here the very high infant mortality rate is still due to an incorrect use of water. As in the Musée de l’Eau “Arche de l’Alliance” in Kinshasa, Congo. The Living Waters Museum, which is based in India, is instead a digital museum, which has created a platform similar to that of Venice. The curator Sara Ahmed, given the absence of a national museum on the subject, has decided to start collecting, digitizing and making known the most diverse water stories of the Indian subcontinent, before they disappear forever.

From the website www.watermuseums.net you can discover other curious and fascinating stories on the characteristic “worlds of water”, on sustainability and good management practices that can be inspired in the age of global water crisis. Stories precious and that is essential to transmit to future generations. Especially when they are on the verge of disappearing due to a homologating globalization, abandonment of hydraulic artefacts or indifference towards that heritage of knowledge and knowledge that have shaped, over the centuries, places and landscapes of water that UNESCO considers , rightly, unique and unrepeatable.

How to counteract then a degradation that seems unstoppable? With these passwords: prevention, adaptation, mitigation and dissemination of knowledge on water. Because the era that we live no longer discounts anyone. And the fact that it is called “anthropocene” shows how the global water crisis is largely due to the way in which man manages water, rather than the whims of a “stepmother” nature. This is the meaning of the 17 SDGs and of the 169 stages prior to their achievement. For this reason it is necessary to invest in prevention and to bet on the water cultures that museums preserve and transmit. In order not to risk finding ourselves at the end, after decades of indifference and degradation of our natural and cultural heritages, with an account too salty to pay. 




Dossier - ATLANTIS

Museum as territory

THE PADUA PROVINCE AMONG waterways, river villages, villas, castles and abbeys.

Lucio Bonato

 The project of the Water Museum of Venice was born in 2016 with a pilot phase that takes as a geographical area of ​​reference and study the territory of the province of Padua. A rather diversified and articulated environmental context, which extends from the belt of the highland springs to the wetlands of the Venetian Lagoon and includes valuable landscape elements such as the green hills of the Euganean Hills, the river corridors of the Brenta, Bacchiglione and dell’Adige, the ancient waterways of medieval origin, the evocative marsh areas and the fishing valleys near the lagoon pools. A field that contains naturalistic contexts of remarkable value, where the age-old activities of man have contributed to the creation of a unique landscape, including abbeys and monasteries, castles and medieval fortifications, Venetian villas and coastal villages. Without forgetting the city of Padua, where architecture and liquid element are integrated and reach sublime results, as in the famous Prato della Valle or in the Fluvial Port of Portello.

Sites of naturalistic interest, hydraulic patrimony - both tangible and intangible, museum spaces, cultural landscapes of water and, finally, today’s best practices of water management: these are the key categories considered in the process of creating the “digital museum” that was born from Padua with the aim of getting to embrace the Tre Venezie. The analysis and the census of the territorial patrimony have presupposed the definition of these six macro-categories to bring out the realities, the experiences and the most emblematic places connected to the liquid element.

In the category of the cultural landscapes of water we find first of all Villa Contarini in Piazzola sul Brenta: splendid complex of sixteenth-century origin developed around the original project of Andrea Palladio and became emblem of the influence of the Serenissima on the mainland, with the perfect combination of elegant architecture, canals , stretches of water and large gardens. Moving from the banks of the Brenta to the slopes of the Euganean Hills you encounter another architectural excellence, the majestic Catajo Castle, a building built close to the banks of the Battaglia Canal for the control of river traffic and related trade. In it the forms of an imposing fortification and the typical elements of an elegant aristocratic residence of the Renaissance era are condensed.

The one of the Euganean reliefs is a hilly area in which the natural landscape and the historical artistic heritage find an exemplary synthesis in the case of the magnificent Monumental Garden of Villa Barbarigo in Valsanzibio: conceived in its visit routes and in the labyrinth that houses as metaphor of a metaphysical path and salvific, was designed by the pontifical architect Luigi Bernini, brother of the famous sculptor Gian Lorenzo. Inside it preserves evocative aquatic and arboreal scenographies, consisting of fish ponds, fountains, water jokes and allegorical statues. Among the most evocative places in the garden we find the Labyrinth of Bosso and the Portal of Diana, an ancient access by water to the fine hunting estate of the Barbarigo. Valsanzibio rises in the territory of Galzignano Terme, one of the localities that together with Abano and Montegrotto form the Euganean thermal area. The beneficial waters are in fact at the center of two adjacent sites: the Source of the Madonna della Salute of Monteortone, with its hot and miraculous spring, and the impressive archaeological area of ​​the sumptuous Roman thermal complex at Montegrotto. In Teolo, at the northern end of the hills, there is another splendid example of religious architecture, the Abbey of Praglia, a Benedictine monastic complex built in the Middle Ages according to the reclamation of the surrounding area. In the hilly area of ​​Patavino, the water element is an integral part of the landscape and finds its maximum expression in the Euganean Riviera, which coincides with the Battaglia Canal and Bisato Canal routes: historical waterways that are part of the Navigli Medievali system of the Euganean Hills. These are ancient artificial canals made by the seigniories of Padua and Vicenza, functional for the transport of goods, people and armies during the frequent and bloody disputes preceding the dominion of the Serenissima. It is no coincidence that along the coast there are important works of defense and fortification, erected to control the fluvial road: in addition to the aforementioned Castello del Catajo, the Castle of Monselice with the scenic Rocca and the Mastio Federiciano, the Carrarese Castle of Este , home of the Museo Nazionale Atestino and the Castello di Valbona, in a strategic position on the border between the territories of Padua, Vicenza and Verona. The coastal center where the strong link with the ancient tradition of the fluvial seafaring is still tangible is certainly the fluvial village of Battaglia Terme: a real “diffuse museum” that tells the epic of commercial navigation and barcàri, among imposing hydraulic works and typically Venetian views. In the historic core of Battaglia Terme is the Museum of River Navigation that through iconographies, original tools, scale models of ancient boats and hydraulic artifacts recalls the tradition of inland navigation typical of Veneto and northern Italy. The presence of waterways has been crucial for the development of two other river villages, further south: that of Pontemanco, a milling site along the Biancolino Channel, and that of Bovolenta, at the confluence of Canale Vigenzone and Bacchiglione, a historical commercial hub to and from the Adriatic. Further downstream, along the salt and sugar route that follows the course of the Bacchiglione, is Pontelongo, a river community and home to the famous sugar mill, where every year the traditional Procession of the Vow is celebrated, a striking religious ceremony that finds its climax on the banks of the river. The procession is part of that intangible heritage linked to the liquid element that is expressed in other events very felt: the Vogalonga Euganea, which takes place annually along the Bisato Canal with traditional boats pushed by the Venetian rowing technique, and the Remada a Second, an event open to any type of rowing boat, aimed at the protection, promotion and revitalization of the waterways of Padua.

Continuing on the banks of the Bacchiglione and approaching the sea you reach the land of reclamation near the lagoon. Here one meets the monumental Corte Benedettina di Correzzola, the fulcrum of an ambitious project of hydraulic regimentation and reorganization of the agrarian landscape carried out by the monks in the Middle Ages. The activities of the integral reclamation carried out between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are instead told in the nearby Museo delle Idrovore of Santa Margherita in Codevigo: within the futuristic lifting system, built at the end of the nineteenth century and still working, a documentation center with photographs was obtained and historical films. A scale model of the historic “slap” wheel, icon of the primitive phase of mechanical reclamation, is conserved among suggestive and perfectly preserved machinery. The territory of Codevigo, overlooking the Venetian Lagoon, is a geographical reality of great naturalistic value and inside there are two other sites of the Water Museum of Venice: the Oasis of Ca’di Mezzo, a functional lamination basin for phytodepuration of the waters and Valle Millecampi, wide marsh area of ​​the South Lagoon, ideal for recreational and sporting activities among salt marshes, casoni and fishing valleys.

Even in the Euganean capital the waterways are a clearly visible landscape element and over the centuries have played a decisive role in the formation of the urban fabric. The historic city center is in fact surrounded by the Padua hydraulic ring, made up of the thirteenth-century Canale Piovego, the branches of the Bacchiglione and other artificial waterways. Along the urban waters of Patavine there are some of the most evocative places in the city, such as the Torre della Specola, the ancient Torlonga of the Carrarese Castle, today the Museum of the Astronomical Observatory, and the Portello River Port, the historic harbor of the immortalized Burchiello. in a fine painting by Canaletto. Two sites located in the heart of Padua are also linked to the liquid element: the Prato della Valle, one of the largest squares in the world, the result of an efficient hydraulic engineering that has transformed a wetland into a wonderful combination of water and architectures, to which also a young Antonio Canova, and the Botanical Garden of the University of Padua, established during the Renaissance to cultivate and study the medicinal plants, now registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a site “At the origin of all the botanical gardens of the world”. The historic vegetable garden is composed of a core delimited by a wall with four portals placed at the cardinal points, called “Hortus cinctus”. To this heritage is added today a spectacular section inaugurated in 2014, where there are about 1300 species, housed in futuristic architecture with homogeneous environments for temperature and humidity. By visiting them, a real journey takes place in the most diverse climatic zones of the planet: the terrestrial biomes - the biodiversity garden.

In the immediate vicinity of the city there are two valuable museums that narrate the territory and its waters, with particular reference to the archaeological finds discovered in the riverbed of the main rivers of Padua and the surrounding areas: the Archaeological Museum of the Bacchiglione river, inside the splendid frame of the Castle of San Martino della Vaneza, and the Environmental Archaeological Museum of the Waters of Padua, situated on the banks of the Brenta, which preserves valuable underwater finds dating back to the Paleoveneto period, among which a splendid specimen of bronze spear dated to 1180 BC about (therefore coeval with the first incursions of Greek boats that went up the Venetian rivers).

Downstream of the hydraulic knot of Limena, near the deviation of the Brentella Canal, there are two impressive hydraulic artifacts, unique in their kind: the Colmelloni. These are two monumental locks, placed to guard and to regulate the medieval navigable canals of Padua and their levels.

Following the course of the Brenta, two exemplary places are reached for today’s best practices of water management: the Isola Mantegna basin, an invaded object of an ecosystem requalification project by the Brenta reclamation Consortium, and the Bosco Limite Carmignano di Brenta. This project is an artificial forest area created to increase water resources of aquifers and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, thanks to the action of selected tree specimens and inserted in the site by ETIFOR, an active spin-off of the University of Padua.

In the high plains of Paduan are located the suggestive natural oasis of the Swamp of Onara, between fresh and clear resurgence waters and stable meadows, and the Golena Draganziolo, a humid area functional to the natural phytodepuration of the river that crosses it. This is a redevelopment project commissioned and implemented by the Resource Water Reclamation Consortium also to contain its natural flooding. An exemplary project because it gives back to the local community a fluvial segment also for leisure activities and leisure time. A perfectly replicable model in every part of the territory. Not far away is the Museum of Roman Centuriation of Borgoricco which, by means of a recent and suggestive exhibition itinerary, describes the landscape, archaeological and historical cultural aspects of the unique territory in which it is inserted: that of the Roman graticulate, referable to the north centuriation -est of Padua. At times still visible to the expert eye, in this area it is possible to explore and know the survivors of the centuriated Agro of the Roman age and the ancient commercial streets that crossed it. 




Dossier - ATLANTIS

The open air museum of the Great Delta

Sara Bianchi

The presence of rivers and streams has always seen the birth of cities and inhabited places, representing the main source of sustenance and wealth. Water as the principle of all things was also the dogma underlying the philosophy of Thales of Miletus who sensed the irreplaceable, the necessity and the strength of the element today called "blue gold".

Life along the river appears today in our eyes as a romantic and bucolic experience. In fact, history teaches how it is a particularly hard life and requires considerable sensitivity and skill in water management and control. Capacity and sensitivity that are the result of knowledge that is handed down over time through the generations, but often risk being forgotten, resulting in loss and forgetfulness of knowledge and assets.

The Italian Mesopotamia is located in Veneto, in the province of Rovigo, where the Tigris and Euphrates are the Adige and the Po. This is the Polesine, a land conquered with difficulty and perseverance by its people. A landscape built patiently by the hand of man. A territory therefore in which the civilization of water has forms and expressions that materialize in unique and particular places, offering the opportunity to rediscover and study the relationship between man and liquid element. The rivers but also the proximity to the sea have represented in the history of this land an advantage that has placed it at the center of industrious commercial traffic, generating a peculiar hydraulic patrimony. The second design phase of the Water Museum of Venice, launched in 2018, focuses precisely on these areas.

The origins of the city of Adria, a true commercial and cultural crossroads of the ancient world, lead us to discover a strip of land stretched out towards the sea, to which it has given its name (Adriatic). Adria was an important junction of intense traffic by land and its streets were an extension of the port, connecting the city through the Via Popillia (now Romea road) and Via Annia. A visit to the National Archaeological Museum of Adria allows you to admire the traces of the ancient history of the Po Delta. Its rooms are rich in prehistoric archaeological finds, Greek, Gallic-Etruscan, Roman and medieval, with ceramics, coins, equipment funerary objects, precious objects and amber jewels. Among these stands the famous "Chariot Tomb": three skeletons of horses of exceptional size along with the remains of a two-wheeled wagon. Passing through Adria, it is worth visiting the Basilica della Tomba, symbol of Christianity and the first lighthouse of the florid port of the Delta, which seems to take its name from an ancient Roman cemetery and embodies the origins of the fluvial village, as a commercial junction at random, on the safe and protected banks of the Po river.

To understand the relationship of civilizations and peoples with their watercourses, it is worth visiting the Museo dei Grandi Fiumi in Rovigo. Housed in the ancient Olivetan Monastery of San Bartolomeo, the museum boasts an exhibition conceived as an experience to get in touch with the ancient delta civilizations and their customs and traditions. The available technologies offer the user a better use of the exhibition path with reconstructions of ancient scenes of everyday life through objects of common use. The museum presents archaeological findings from research conducted in the Alto and Medio Polesine areas and exhibited in five thematic historical areas: the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Roman Age, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Periods in which the presence of rivers and watercourses plasma incisively every human activity.

A study of the late Bronze Age is set up in the barchesse of a splendid Palladian residence, Villa Badoer, which today houses the National Archaeological Museum of Fratta Polesine. Here you can admire the testimonies of the first pile-dwelling villages built along the ancient course of the Po. The main core of the exhibition consists of the findings of an archaeological complex now considered among the most representative at European level of the final Bronze Age (XII - 10th century BC): those of the village of Frattesìna and its necropolis.

But the testimonies of the intense traffic and the ferment that animated the lands of the Po Delta in ancient times are also found dispersed in various places on the territory. First of all the small village of San Basilio, part of the Municipality of Ariano nel Polesine, which once housed an ancient Roman mansio (Mansio Hadriani), a resting place for travelers. Today it runs a cultural center that exhibits archaeological material found during several excavation campaigns. Next to it there is a Romanesque church, built in the ninth century by Benedictine monks, which contains inside an ancient marble column mentioned in some historical-ecclesiastical documents as "miraculous". It seems in fact that the column oozed a gelatinous substance that had the power to give back milk to mothers. Healing waters.

This is not the only legend of the territory that sees miraculous water as the protagonist. The church of Lendinara is in fact linked to the events of a wooden statuette: 1509 is the year in which the first miracles linked to the waters of the pool of the Sanctuary of the Madonna Nera del Pilastrello, with its image carved at the foot of a source called the Bath of the Madonna. Crystal-clear waters, which the Virgin herself would have miraculously gushed out.

Stories, images and emotions linked to the great river, the Po, are instead at the center of the "immersive" Un Po di Storie installation, currently hosted by the Rosolina Mare congress center. Created by the Centro Civía dell'Acqua in 2015 in conjunction with Expo Venice, thanks to the recovery of precious vintage films, this installation allows you to make a real journey in the past in minutes, with multiple projections and striking animated drawings inside of an immersive position. You can thus admire places and landscapes typical of the Po with the eyes of those who for centuries have navigated it, reliving the voices of the river and its people.

What makes this territory unique in the world is also the presence of a natural park, managed by the Veneto Regional Park Authority of the Po Delta. It is the largest wetland in Italy and among the largest in Europe, recognized in 2015 UNESCO Biosphere Reserve as part of the MAB Program (Man and Biosphere) which aims to improve the relationship between man and the environment and reduce the loss of biodiversity. The Biosphere Reserves represent places where, through appropriate land management, the enhancement of the ecosystem and the socio-economic development activity are combined, favoring the possibility of carrying out multiple territorial functions based on sustainable development. The Biosphere Reserves, such as the Po Delta, are therefore areas of experimentation and development of new development proposals, for a more sustainable economy and tourism for the benefit of local communities.

The Delta is a land to be discovered, to be traveled slowly, letting yourself be enchanted by the encounters you can suddenly make. Like those with the characteristic Ponti di Barche, immersed in vast expanses of land and labyrinths of water, and long-awaited ties between people of different banks, which allow us to better understand the shape of a landscape in continuous flow between fresh, brackish water and soils stable. Or the meeting that can be done in what is now shown as a motionless and profound campaign: here we find, surprisingly, the Cordoni dunes of Ariano in Polesine, Porto Viro and Rosolina. These cords mark the ancient coast lines designed by the sea and today host rare specimens of flora, precious islands that have survived the destruction of the building industry. Here are the banks and the floodplains, real treasure trove of biodiversity, in some cases nowadays protected oasis, such as the Golena Ca 'Pisani in Porto Viro, once dedicated to fish farming, or the Panarella Golena, in Papozze. Impressive aquatic environments that echo the Greek myth of the escape of the impudent Phaethon with the chariot of the sun. A youthful stunt to which Zeus put an end provoking the fall of the son of Apollo in the river Eridano, the Po, and turning the weeping sisters in poplars along its banks.

We then find the fishing valleys, where it is possible to discover the skill of the valleys in managing the unstable flows of brackish waters and fish farms, along one of the most fascinating cycle routes in Europe: the Via delle Valli. And the lagoons, with their "sea gardens" and the bags. Among these, the most productive is the Sacca di Scardovari in which delicious mussels, clams and oysters are cultivated. Among the benches - ephemeral patches of land periodically submerged by the sea waves - the most suggestive and romantic is certainly Scano Boa, nicknamed "the island that does not exist" for the wild charm that continues to attract directors and poets. An excursion offers unique moments and indelible memories.

Fishing is a very profitable activity in the Delta, with ancient origins and traditions. In the past it has determined the birth of various craft activities, giving life to real fishing villages, like the village of Santa Maria in Punta, a small village in the municipality of Ariano nel Polesine; or the village of Porto Levante, in Porto Viro, from which today the fishing boats still leave; or the small town of Loreo, an ancient fluvial port of the Roman age, which later became an important commercial hub for the Serenissima. Right here in the seventeenth century the Taglio di Porto Viro was decided: a powerful hydraulic work that changed the course of the Po for a long time, diverting the river to protect the Venice lagoon from the ever more substantial river sediments that threatened its inexorable burial. The Portus Lauretis was a crucial junction of Venetian businesses. To his testimony remains today a marble block, with engraved and clearly legible table of tolls on transit loads, near the ancient navigation basin of Tornova.

As for the flora of the Delta, it is a rare example of mingling of lowland vegetation, humid environments and marine environments. In this way, landscapes rich in luxuriant vegetation alternate with woods and pinewoods, and other bare and burned by saltiness; then expanses of poplars, reeds or salicornia, which in autumn red tints of lagoons, until you meet rare species of orchids. Several spontaneous gardens populate the Delta and the Po River, but the most important and representative is certainly the Botanical Garden of Porto Caleri, which allows you to discover the evolution and adaptations of the flora along the coastline. In addition, you can admire, in Porto Viro, the Oasis of Volta Grimana, near an ancient navigation basin: a true birdwatching paradise, equipped with numerous sighting towers. The Oasis of Ca 'Mello in Porto Tolle was once the mouth of a disappearing branch of the Po; today, however, it is an international monitoring station on birdlife. On the inside we find instead the Gorghi di Trecenta, fed by resurgence waters that the local tradition narrates to be a divine punishment to punish the evil inhabitants of ancient cities submerged by the floods: at night, the sound of the bells would still be heard.

The Delta has also inspired artists and writers. The romantic verses dedicated to the woman loved by the English Lord Byron, guest of the historic home Ca 'Zen in Taglio di Po, or those of the nobel prize Eugenio Montale, who was fascinated by the view from the top of the Punta Maistra lighthouse, testify to this. . The writer Luigi Salvini was instead kidnapped by the bucolic dream of the Tamisiana Republic of Bosgattìa, which he founded in the forties of the last century on the island of Balutìn: the "free" state where people lived mainly with what freely offered nature and who even arrived to coin money and stamps to proclaim their independence.

A land, the Delta, which therefore would not exist without the patient intervention of man and reclamation works. Works often started in the Middle Ages, thanks to the tireless work of the Benedictine monks. For example, those of the ancient river village of Badia Polesine, built on a territory surrounded by a network of ditches, specially created to allow access only through three drawbridges, real entrance doors to the village. The Pomposa Abbey, in the Municipality of Codigoro (Ferrara), stands along the ancient Via Popillia with its elegant and artistic bell tower, marking another cardinal site of the Benedictine remediation. In addition to fervent prayer, research and study were carried out here so that this abbey is known for having developed nothing less than the writing of music based on seven notes, instead of six. The same notes that make up harmonious melodies today played by ocarinas, small instruments in fluvial clay shaped by the expert hands of the Fecchio family, which runs the Ocherina Laboratory and Museum in the village of Grillara.

Finally, you can not forget the scavengers: the guardians of this land crossed by ever-changing waters. First of all the imposing Idrovora of Ca 'Vendramin, home of the Museum of Reclamation which with its huge chimney stands out unopposed marking the horizon between the branch of the Po di Goro and that of Venice. The nineteenth-century water pump Amolara is instead home to the Septem Maria Museum: it preserves the historical artifacts that narrate the not always easy relationship between man and water, a source of calamity as well as precious resource. The Via delle Idrovore is a sort of museum en plein air: a path that connects fascinating buildings now decommissioned, which once hosted powerful machinery for the transformation of the territory, with others still working. As a reminder, here in the Delta, the earth is the fruit not only of nature, but also of the patient work of man. 



Dossier - ATLANTIS

Innovation, challenges and opportunities for the Padua’s museum network

Oscar Zampiron

"The mirage of a landing, which attracted the first sailors from Magna Grecia (...) as in the case of the Trojan Antenor, which puts an end to its marine odyssey still looking at the reassuring shape of the hills in the open sea, a reference point for the next ascent of one of the branches of the Medoacus "(the Brenta today). Besides being a testimony to a remote past worthy of praise for the Paduan territory, this quote allows you to underline two key words on the possible evolutionary scenarios of the Water Museum of Venice project, offering the opportunity to reflect on the challenges that many of these sites have faced or face.

Let's start from the first verb highlighted, "attract" - from the Latin attrhĕre: therefore attract, pull to itself. Once the territory of Padua with its rich waterways has attracted great characters who have made history, exploring and inhabiting these places. And then the word "reference". In an age where the relationship between man and nature is ever more fragile, characterized by a "value crisis" centered on fleeting consumption, culture and the knowledge of one's own roots become an indispensable reference point for the growth of civil society.

In relation to the sustainability objectives pursued by UNESCO, the opportunity to visit and discover the sites of our historical heritage of civilization of the waters designates knowledge, first and foremost, as an indispensable educational element in the formation of new generations. But what attraction does today express this "liquid" territorial heritage, with its stories and traditions? What innovations must be pursued by sites and museums - and what synergies is it preferable to activate in "networks", in order to reaffirm their strategic importance for today's society in terms of a more sustainable development?

Today we are attracted more and more to what is beautiful and engaging: what gives an emotion or experience and leaves a mark in our lives, giving it a sense and an identity belonging. In this epochal context it is therefore essential that water sites and museums develop new attractive skills to dialogue with local communities on traditions and knowledge related to water management, consolidating this sense of belonging. In order to attract young people too. Knowledge and places that must therefore come back to be a reference point: because they speak of the anthropological link with their territory, with history and knowledge of their roots, enhancing the ingenuity devised over the centuries to survive and integrate with nature.

But times and human needs have changed. We are continually bombarded with information, we are more selective, the speed has increased, the capacity of attention diminished, the expectations higher and higher. In this context, attracting and transferring meaning and knowledge becomes increasingly difficult. This is why the need to graft innovation in water sites and museums, even through new experiential and interactive paths, becomes of fundamental importance. Experiment and experience the "what it was and what it is like" to imagine the near future and the "how it could be". More sustainable? And close to people's needs?

Combining different disciplines and skills through new exhibition areas, bringing people and young people closer together using technology and social media; diversify with art, design, music and colors to evoke with creativity the evocative atmosphere of the past. These are all stages of a journey that must be constructed and monitored also in terms of "network". Being versatile in functionality, offering spaces for different uses, organizing events, workshops and courses, creating partnerships and synergies with companies, associations, research institutes, schools and universities. This is what is required of the sites and museums of water in a territory, to combine its mission with that of UNESCO.

The added value of the Water Museum of Venice is certainly to offer the visitor a unitary overview of the different sites: to be considered no longer as single entities unrelated to each other but connected by material culture, narrative elements and stories of water. In view of consolidating the network. Only in this way is it possible to connect through a common thread of different historical evidences and suggestive itineraries of visits, so that when one ends there is always an "elsewhere" that invites you to get closer to discovering a new world of water. For this reason being on the net is crucial nowadays. This is one of the principles that inspired the project of digital museum and "widespread" Water Museum of Venice, which illustrates the historical development of the relationship between man and water.

In this context there are many examples to be cited as good innovative practices carried out by bodies and institutions that manage the sites participating in the project. The patavino scope, which is the one defined in the initial project phase, will be taken as a reference. To make known to a wide audience of all ages how biodiversity is linked to the liquid element and the theme of sustainability is the goal of the Botanical Garden of the University of Padua. In its biodiversity garden the climatic conditions of the most characteristic biomes on the planet are simulated in an evocative way: in Asia, Oceania, America, Europe. In an age of serious and profound loss in terms of biodiversity, the planet is told in terms of challenges to survival thanks to information panels, virtual tours, videos and interactive exhibits. Today the Garden registers about 200 thousand visitors a year and represents, thanks to its innovative exhibition system, a unique combination of history, modernity, science, nature and technology.

In the sign of avit tradition, instead, the Abbey of Praglia moves. This monastic complex has been able to renew itself over time also offering visitors a wide range of quality natural products: from herbal teas to aromatic herbs, from creams to soaps, from oils to food products. The recent inauguration of the garden of the simple, near the historic fish farms, attests the longed for recovery of the centuries-old tradition of cultivation of aromatic plants.

A farsighted example of conservation and enhancement of the spa areas is the Monumental Garden of Villa Barbarigo, conceived in Valsanzibio in the Baroque period and also known as the "Little Versailles". With its suggestive labyrinth protected by two hectares of perfectly preserved ancient trees, it is one of the few Venetian gardens that have remained practically intact over the centuries. Designed by architect Luigi Bernini, it is proposed as an example of ante-litteram sustainability, thanks to the continuous recycling of water used to supply elegant fountains, including allegorical statues and aquatic jokes. The management change in 2014. The family that owns it since 1929 decides to focus on high international quality standards and on eco-sustainability. In the context of cycling routes it becomes a recharge point for e-bikes. Guides in five languages ​​and an effective work on social networks make it in a short time a unique model of its kind, taken from the televisions of the world.

Always on the slopes of the Euganean Hills, not less innovative and exemplary is the evolutionary path of the ancient residence of the Castello del Catajo. With its majestic architecture, it has been transformed in a few years from an emblematic place of abandonment to a model of restoration and enhancement. After the sale, a private investment gave him new life, so as to avoid forever - or so hopefully - the threat of a depressing shopping center close to his noble architectures. Thanks also to effective work on social media, in 2017 it was the most visited private historical residence in the northeast, with almost 42 thousand visitors. The various successful initiatives that it organizes - first and foremost that of "volcanic" wines - are the result of intense design work, which distinguishes it for its ability to attract a young audience.

Near the river Brenta the splendid Villa Contarini in Piazzola sul Brenta, owned by the Veneto Region, allows itself with its pools of water and its gardens to multiple cultural and recreational uses. Today it is animated by a rich program of initiatives. From the "boys in villa" educational program, to bring young people and families closer together through art, cinema and concerts, to congress events and business meetings. From 2013 to date, it has seen an increase of over 10 thousand visitors, reaching more than 30 thousand paying visitors in 2017. The most recent initiatives include the photographic exhibition "Paesaggi d'Acqua nel Veneto". It would be difficult to find a more suitable exhibition context, where the liquid element merges with the landscape, nature and architecture of Palladio memory.

A paradigm of relaunch work has been done in recent years by the Battaglia Terme Museum of River Navigation, thanks to the association that runs it, TVB - Traditional Venetian Boats. Also called the museum of the barcari, it is a unique site that celebrates the epic of the freshwater sailors and the tradition unknown today of the ancient river boating practices. A redesigned website, a synergic collaboration with local communities, a rich program of events dedicated to children with recreational and recreational activities make this small civic museum an emblematic model of revival. Keeping the adjacent waterways of medieval origin alive and vital, restoring them in their aesthetic and biodiversity values, is the commitment of Remada depending on: historical event that has been at the forefront for over 40 years to stimulate and share a more sustainable development, inextricably linked to the quality of our waterways. And what about the tenacious commitment of the rowing associations and commercial shipping operators that in recent years has contributed to radically change the perception of the ancient navigable ways of the Serenissima, today perhaps no longer abandoned to oblivion by the institutions?

Another valuable example is the Museum of Roman Centuriation of Borgoricco: the innovative architectural complex, recently built, blends the concepts of community and collective memory in its spaces. A virtual tour in the era of Roman centuriations is made possible thanks to innovative exhibition approaches and an App that supports 3D reconstructions and interactive visits with audio and video guides.

Exemplary innovative actions, in terms of sustainable development, are finally witnessed by the four good contemporary water management practices surveyed within the Paduan network. The Oasis of Ca 'di Mezzo, in Codevigo, is a natural purifier of the polluted waters of the Bacchiglione river, the work of the homonymous reclamation Consortium, which is confirmed as a valid alternative to the much more expensive (and sometimes less efficient) artificial purifiers. The Isola Mantegna Basin is an exemplary case of ecosystem regeneration and the creation of a naturalistic path for recreational and educational activities in the name of a more sustainable development. The Bosco Limite in Carmignano di Brenta is a cutting-edge project aimed at recreating a lowland forest, reloading, at the same time, the aquifers: non-trivial action, in a context of growing global scarcity. The Golanza Draganziolo, built on the river of the same name, is a river redevelopment project aimed at purifying water from polluting loads but also preventing flooding and flooding. Returning valuable green spaces for recreational activities to local communities. It is a good reference practice, carried out by the award-winning Consorzio Acque Risorgive, as a type of redevelopment that can easily be replicated in any watercourse and on a large scale. Is not it from here that we need to start again to promote a more sustainable development?

These are just a few examples of what can be discovered again and stimulating in the sites of the Patavina network. Even more numerous are the activities organized by the institutions that manage them, suggesting that today it is necessary to move in a collaborative perspective, in step with the times and to respond to the new bi-dreams of citizens and visitors.

The ways of "surfing" to discover the different hydraulic heritages make possible to glimpse several possible routes to reach these destinations. To attract and return to being, as in the past, a point of reference. Especially for the new generations who will have to protect, preserve and further enhance their inherited heritage. 



Dossier - ATLANTIS

The numbers of our water

Stefania Schipani

Water, an ever more precious asset that we neglect. A good that we do not know how to grasp the unsurpassable value. Our Blue Gold that we let flow without being interested in how important it is.

If we saw the precious stones rolling in the streets, we would hurry up to pick them up, set them aside, hoard them. And instead. We do not have life with stones, we live with water.

How much we use and how much we throw here in Italy. Numbers, and waste, are impressive.

The ISTAT data fill this information with values that should concern us especially in the light of what happened in 2017, the year of the water crisis, which also affected our territory, the worst of the last few years. A crisis that has sucked the four main Italian watersheds of the rivers Po, Adige, Arno and Tiber, drying them by 39.6% compared to the average of the three-year period 1981-2010. Rivers rich in water, able to guarantee flora and fauna and found themselves in the second half of 2017 in an always “extremely dry” state. A lack of water that is not easy to recover.

But surely we Italians do not excel in the use of water. We take 156 cubic meters of water per inhabitant for drinking, more than 28% of all EU countries. And certainly not because we drink more, but simply because we do not manage it properly. In total we get a withdrawal of 9.49 billion cubic meters (2015, the reference year of the Last Water Census).

Only Ireland that uses 135 cubic meters of water per inhabitant and Greece with 131 cubic meters approach our values. And to think that instead, Malta takes only 31 cubic meters per capita for drinking (what do they do not drink?).

Yet water problems remain in many EU states and, according to the EEA report “European waters - assessment of the situation and pressures 2018”, despite considerable efforts to improve water quality, wastewater treatment , reducing the outflow of pollutants from agricultural land, measures to allow migratory fish to overcome barriers, restore degraded aquatic ecosystems, etc., the aquifers enjoy good health, but only 40% of lakes, rivers, coastal waters and estuaries reached at least the “good” or “high” ecological status of the EU Water Framework Directive (monitoring period 2010-2015).

Returning to Italian problems, poorly maintained and inefficient infrastructures are responsible for most of the water leaks in the water network. Losses are represented by the difference between the water fed into the network and the one supplied to the population for different uses.

So we discover that the share of water fed into the network but does not reach the end users, reaches the value of about 41.4% of the national total, almost 3.45 billion cubic meters that are dispersed (year 2015), a value huge.

Of all these losses, those that as mentioned are due to the bad state of the network, therefore corrosion, deterioration, broken pipes or faulty joints, inefficiencies, are equal to 38.3%, while water losses defined as “apparent”, referable unauthorized consumption and measurement errors, are 3.1% of the water fed into the network. The question of inadequate water system governance that does not make the necessary investments and does not implement an adequate modernization of the water network comes into play here. Among the municipalities provincial capitoluogho ranges from absurd values of losses of 75.4% in Frosinone to the minimum value of Macerata with losses of less than 10% (2015).

And we come to one last piece of information: urban wastewater treatment.

95.7% of Italian municipalities (7,705 in 2015) make use of the purification service, but still in 342 municipalities, where there are about 1 million 400 thousand inhabitants, mainly in Southern Italy, the water purification service is totally absent urban waste and everything is still to be done: structures, organization, etc.

So in this context not really exciting we just have to take a swim at sea taking advantage of the excellent quality of most of our swimming waters (94%) in continuous improvement. 


Recurrence in nine

Recurrence in nine - ATLANTIS

The death of Pericles 429 BC

The Epitaph of Pericles

“We love beauty, but with composure, and cultivate knowledge, but without weakness, we use more wealth for opportunities for action than for prose of speech, then poverty is not shameful for anyone to admit, while it is most shameful do not avoid it in fact.


In ourselves, the care of private and public affairs is innate, and even if we are directed to other activities, we have a knowledge that is certainly not lacking in public interests; in fact we alone consider those who are not interested in such problems not already idle, but useless, and we ourselves either judge at least or conveniently weigh the various issues, not believing that the speeches are detrimental to the actions, but rather not being informed with the discussion before actually going to meet what is needed; because in this too we behave differently: we are absolutely the same and in horizing and pondering what we are going to do; while in this for others ignorance involves recklessness and uncertainty reflection “. (Thucydides)


The Athens of Pericles

Pericles at the head of the Athenian democratic party directed the life of the city for thirty years, transforming it into the greater power of Ancient Greece.

Although he came from one of the richest and noblest families, he worked to strengthen the popular component (demos), in fact, he transferred all powers to Bulè (council of 500 men: 50 of each of the 10 tribes founded by Clistene) and the Areopagus ( advice from all the former archons) was reduced to judging only the most serious crimes such as blood crimes.

He also introduced an allowance for anyone who participated in the court or assembly as a judge.


Pericles was a man of vast culture and favored the development of the sciences. Many intellectuals became his friends and began to gather in a circle animated by his companion Anaspasia.

He promoted the construction of splendid monumental buildings that would transform Athens into a museum. Pericles built the acropolis destroyed by the Persians, as a symbol of both political and religious Athenian institutions, and to demonstrate the greatness and power of the city he built the Parthenon in honor of Athena Parthenon.

By emptying the coffers of the Polis, the only way to find more money was to conquer new cities and force them to pay tribute to Athens. 



Deseases in the World: Legionellosis

Deseases in the World: Legionellosis - ATLANTIS



Legionellosis is a lung infection caused by an ubiquitous bacterium that spreads through city pipelines and water systems in buildings


Legionellosis, also called Legionnaires’ disease, is a lung infection caused by the Legionella pneumophila bacteria.

It was first identified in 1976, following a severe epidemic (221 people mark this form of previously unknown pneumonia and 34 deaths) in a group of former American Legion fighters (hence the name of the illness), who had attended a conference at a Philadelphia hotel in the United States. The source of bacterial contamination was identified in the hotel’s air conditioning system.

Legionella is a bacterium present in natural and artificial environments: spring waters, including thermal waters, rivers, lakes, muds, etc. From these environments it reaches the artificial ones as urban conduits and water systems of buildings, such as reservoirs, pipes, fountains and swimming pools, which can act as amplifiers and disseminators of the microorganism, creating a potential risk situation for human health.

Being the ubiquitous microorganism, the disease can occur with epidemics due to a single source, with limited exposure in time and space to the etiologic agent, or with a series of independent cases in an area with high endemic or sporadic cases without an obvious temporal or geographical grouping.

Epidemic outbreaks have repeatedly occurred in collective temporary housing, such as hospitals or hotels, cruise ships, trade shows, etc. Cases of Legionella pneumonia of Community origin occur mainly in the summer-autumn months, while those of nosocomial origin do not have a particular seasonality.


Guidelines for the prevention and control of legionellosis

Approved in the State-Regions Conference, in the session of May 7, 2015, the document intends to bring together, update and integrate all the indications reported in the previous national and regulatory guidelines: ‘Guidelines for the prevention and control of legionellosis’, published in G.U. of May 5, 2000; “Guidelines with indications on legionellosis for managers of tourist-receptive and thermal facilities” and “Guidelines with indications to laboratories with microbiological diagnosis and environmental control of legionellosis” (GU n. 28 of 4 February 2005 and GU n 29 of 5 February 2005).

The guidelines have been updated in the light of new scientific knowledge, with the technical-scientific support of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità and expert institutional figures in the sector. 

By the Ministry of Health



Filitalia International

Filitalia International - ATLANTIS

Paesi di Calabria, dwelling cultures now and then

The temporary exhibition “Paesi Di Calabria, Dwelling Cultures Now And Then”, presented by the organizations Club Sannicolese, Comunità di Filogaso and Mammola Social Club in Toronto, Ontario – Canada, is a project sponsored by Region Calabria through the Regional Decree 54/2012 and the Annual Intervention Plan, aimed to enhance and promote the region worldwide.

This initiative includes three international stages located in three different countries: Canada, United States of America and Cuba.  The project is devised by Maria Loscrì, President of  Vibo Valentia Unesco Club and Medexperience, and will be realized by, Rosario Chimirri Professor of Architectural History at DINCI, Università della Calabria, with the coordination of Nicola Pirone, Director of “Calabresi Nel Mondo” WebTv – www.kalabriatv.it.

These three events will be realized with the collaboration of Associazione MedExperience, Unesco Club, Filitalia International Chapter of Vibo Valentia and KalabriaTV. This is not a random choice, since Toronto is the land of Calabrese immigration, as well as the site of three partner organizations, and Philadelphia is the headquarter of Filitalia International, a non profit organization founded by Dr. Pasquale Nestico, a popular cardiologist of Calabrese heritage. Moreover, L’Avana is linked with Calabria through a particular devotion to St. Francis of Paola, Patron Saint of Calabria. For this reason, the exhibition in L’Avana will be dedicate to this prominent figure and the 500th anniversary of the capital foundation.

About the event: The temporary exhibition, realized through multimedia and self-supporting panels, includes a two-volumes “Paesi di Calabria – Settlements and dwelling cultures”, published by Rubbettino, 2017. It will be shown an interpretation of typical Calabrese settlements with a multidisciplinary perspective, by tracking the cultural, historical and architectural evolution, from the Middle Ages to modern times, with a deeper insight of different ways to conceive locations linked to life-style.

The purpose is to enhance knowledge and appreciation of beautiful landscapes and monuments in Calabria, by carrying not a simple container of masterpieces but a masterpiece itself. Since this is an exhibition on historical villages, a very topical subject, we believe this event is relevant, powerful and exciting because the content includes a large number of residential areas in Calabria. In particular, by seeing several types of vicoli, streets, courtyard, we will be able to enact the memory of our guests and engage them with their distant origin.



Exhibit dates and locations:


Columbus Center 

901 Lawrence Ave West

Tuesday, February 13, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Wednesday, February 14 9:00 am – 8:00 pm

Club Sannicolese

180 Winges Rd, Vaughan, ON

Friday 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm



History of Italian Immigration Museum

1834 East Passyunk Avenue

Sunday, February 17, 4:30 pm -7:30 pm  (Opening)

Monday, February 18,  9:30 am – 6:00 pm

Tuesday, February 19, 9:30 am – 6:00 pm



Italian Culture Institute “Dante Alighieri”

Callejón de Jústiz # 21 – Old City, L’Avana 

Friday, February 23, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm 

Saturday, February 24, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm



Report Defence

Report Defence - ATLANTIS

Why Turkey defends Al Qaeda?

Francesco Ippoliti

Turkey’s intervention in Northern Syria has always been supported by the Turkish summit to defend the borders against the Kurdish terrorist threat.

Instead the facts show, at the moment, that it is an invasion of Syria and a shift of ethnic groups in order to favor the security of the Turkish borders.

In fact, under the guise of fighting terrorism, the intervention in the Afrin region was justified, leading to the capitulation of the Kurdish forces of YPG and YPJ present and an exodus of about one hundred thousand people of the same ethnic group to refugee camps in the area. of Aleppo, under a vague Syrian government control.

In the invasion of the Afrin region, the main forces deployed against the Kurds were the regular Turkish ones who supported, for the “dirty” work, the FSA (Free Syrian Army), the militias linked to al Qaeda (HTS) - Hayat Tahrir al Sham) and further radicalist Sunni armed groups. In the operation, called “Olive Branch”, the jihadist forces had been deployed in Turkish territory along the Kirikhan and Akbez axis, and from there they entered the Kurdish territory with Afrin direction, well-equipped militias and with clear demonstration of the technical, financial and logistical support provided by Ankara.

From local sources and official Turkish sources, most of the Kurdish families present have been replaced by those of the Sunni religion; over 162,000 Syrians have arrived both from the various refugee camps present in Turkey and from real ethnic movements such as those in the areas of Ghouta and Douma.

But the sole control of Afrin’s area, stripped of the Kurdish presence, is not yet sufficient to eliminate the threat that the Turks continue to consider: that is, the continuous presence of the well-trained Kurdish militias at their southern borders.

To achieve this goal, Ankara overshadows every other aspect and threat consideration; provides daily support for Islamic extremist militias that recognize themselves under the banner of al Qaeda, exalted by the Turkish alliance but destabilizing and unreliable for their beliefs and for the territorial and fundamentalist objectives they set themselves.

With recent statements by President Trump on the withdrawal of US forces from Syria, the government in Ankara has certainly seen the possibility of putting in place the many times feared plans for the conquest of the northern territories of Syria, along the route Manbij, Ain Issa and Al Hasakah, and the definitive expulsion of the Kurdish forces from the Turkish borders

Ankara has never hidden the ambitions of wanting a territory-bearing at the southern border which is at least forty kilometers deep, supported by loyal militias and by a pro Turkish population that may be annexed tomorrow.

For immediate action at the thought of President Trump, the Turkish Armed Forces have amassed numerous mechanized and armored units in the Gaziantep area, also coming from the forces deployed in European Turkey.

Likewise, Sunni rebel forces have also massed in the Qabasin area, (Turkish controlled area in the Euphrates Shield device) and Kobane numerous units linked to the Free Syrian Army, groups armed by the names inspire fear and threat, but which in reality are only a set more or less numerous groupings of militias equipped with light means for movement and heavy mounted weapons.

In particular, units were deployed as: 1st Legion, 3rd Legion, Samarkan Brigade, al-Hamza Brigade, Ahrar al-Shariqiya, 9th Brigade, al-Rahamn Corps, 13th Division, 132rd Brigade, Muntasir Billah Brigade, Sullyman Shah Brigade, Fatih Sultan Mohmet, Jaysh al Sharqiyah, and other minors.

Many of them have received, through numerous train trains, new vehicles such as SUVs, pickups equipped with twin guns, equipment, logistic support and even heavy weapons.

On the other hand, the displacement of numerous FSA-bound militiamen left the area of ​​Idlib somewhat in the hands of HQ’s alqaedist forces.

The Idlib area is an area where the FSA and HTS forces live together, with the borders guaranteed by real FOB (Foward Operational Base) of Turkish regular forces facing each other against equally Russian and Iranian FOBs, placed in territory controlled by the forces government of Assad.

Thus the security of the jihadist forces is, in fact, guaranteed by the Turkish government apparatus, as well as Syrian forces guaranteed by russian and iranian ones.

Last September, when Syrian government action was being fought for the conquest of Idlib, Putin and Erdogan had a meeting in Sochi to establish the conditions to avoid a bloodbath. One of the conditions was the creation of a buffer zone of 15-20 km between the rebel and the government forces, where the presence of heavy weapons and extremist forces was forbidden (for example HTS).

Conditions that Turkey has never managed to ensure either by lack of will or by the inability to impose itself on extremist Islamic forces.

To highlight the total unreliability of the jihadist forces, it is important to underline the recent actions of the HQ al Qaeda militias which, following the aforementioned move of the FSA units, have carried out actions to control the Idlib area.

In particular, HTS strengthened its presence by taking control of numerous locations, considered strategic in the Idlib region.

HTS has strongly hit another rebel group / coalition, the NFL (National Front for Liberation), made up of more than 10 factions and forces from other jihadist groups, including Nur al-Din al-Zanki (or Zenki) and Ahrar al-Sham, reducing control over the territory (especially in the region of Hama) and making them capitulate in many villages. The NFL is a formation that makes use of the direct support from the Turkish governmental and defensive apparatus.

HTS now has considerable control over the Idlib region, which can influence the decisions of the Salvation Government that administers the area.

In fact, with the conquest of dozens of villages, now it is estimated that HTS has control over 80% of the Idlib region, such as to be the balance in government decisions.

Recently, HTS has effectively dissolved the local police, established by the former Syrian governmental government apparatus in Interim, established in Gaziantep (Turkey) in 2012. The police were replaced by HTS armed militia.

Furthermore, also in the Idlib region, other groups linked to HTS and al-Qaeda have arisen, in particular the “Guardians of Religion”, a group that imposes the Koranic law of sharia and incites the “believers” to fight.

In summary, the well-organized HTS militias have now taken control of the Idlib area, an area guaranteed by the Turkish government.

HTS is led by Abu Muhammad al-Juliani (also al-Jawlani), the first and only emir of al-Nusrah (with a size of 10 million dollars), who swore loyalty to al Qaeda in 2016. Al-Nusrah changed name in Jabhat Fath al-Sham and, with other groups, formed HTS in early 2017.

HTS is on the lists of terrorist groups from both the US State Department and Turkey and Russia.

HTS has demonstrated its own Islamic fundamentalist and destabilizing creed in the Syrian region of Idlib, a creed that will never lead to peace talks for the consolidation of Syria.

Turkey is the nation that has the power to influence the decisions of the idlib region, as it is acting in it as a protectorate and a guarantor.

The question is to understand until Ankara can endure this ambiguous relationship with the faithful Sunni militias and the opportunist fundamentalist militias. Until Turkey can “not see” what happens to the population of Idlib, submissive to Sharia, until “must” provide the logistical and financial support of local militias that inevitably refer to the Queda and until it can defend the indefensible terrorist belief of HTS.

Only Turkey, a member of NATO, endowed with democratic principles, will be able to get out of that mud that is the direct and indirect support of al Qaeda, an international terrorist organization that has its hands stained with innocent blood and threatens both the West and the West itself. Turkey.

And there was not much time left, after which Ankara will also have to submit to the al Qaeda militias or fight them in a bloodbath.


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Israel and Iran, a challenge that lasts from decades


Luca Tatarelli

These are the pivotal points that emerged, this afternoon in Rome during the presentation of the dossier of Rebecca Mieli, a young geopolitical analyst and also signing of the Report Defense, on the challenge with Iran, seen by Israel, published by the Center for Political and Strategic Studies Machiavelli.

The analyst highlighted how the historical rivalry between Iran and Israel has intensified as a result of the logistical activities and the growing influence of Teheran in Syria. He also noted the Netanyahu Government’s deep concern over the Iranian nuclear program. “The Israeli leaders - explained the researcher - have made it clear that Jerusalem will not allow Iran to build military strongholds near the Golan. To avert a direct confrontation, Israel has strengthened its dialogue with key players in the region (Jordan and Egypt) and with the Gulf countries, which share its concerns about Iran’s hegemonic aspirations. “

Then there are the relations between Israel and the Trump administration that have been strengthened further following the release of Washington from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the Iranian nuclear agreement to which Jerusalem has opposed from the beginning . But also with the decision of the American president to open a US Embassy office in Jerusalem.

As for another power that operates in the area, Russia, the Israeli government considers the policy of President Vladimir Putin “able to dialogue and negotiate with Iran. As a result, the Jewish state has appealed to Moscow to promote a diplomatic option, where the hypothesis of armed confrontation appears ever more concrete “.

The clear and detailed research of Rebecca Mieli starts from far away. Good relations existed between Iran and Israel, recalls Mieli. The country was one of the three pillars of the “Peripheral Doctrine” of David Ben Gurion, which Israel later left with difficulty only many years after the 1979 Revolution.

“Despite the declared hostility of the new Republic to Jerusalem - highlights the Honey - as well as the firm opposition to its very existence, the idea that Israel should counterbalance the presence of neighboring enemy states by forging alliances with non-Arab Middle Eastern powers such as Iran, Ethiopia and Turkey, prevailed over the ideological rivalry that divided Tehran and Jerusalem “.

On the occasion of the bloody conflict that saw Iran and Iraq (1980-1988), Jerusalem also with direct military aid. Indeed, they are the Israelis who destroy the Iraqi nuclear power plant in Osirak.

But when the currents of Islamic radicalism begin to take hold in Iran and paramilitary groups are born, ready to destabilize the Arab states, a dialogue develops between the moderates within the latter and Israel.

This established stable relations with Egypt and Jordan and opened a dialogue with some Gulf nations (especially Saudi Arabia). All are united, says Mieli “from the inflexible anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic rhetoric of Tehran” that in fact make the Peripheral Doctrine collapse.

The Khomenist thought develops outside and inside the country. Main objective: to eliminate Israel. Why? The researcher’s reply: “The Islamic Revolution in Iran was conceived to transform the country into the leader of the entire Muslim world. To this end, the flag of the battle of Teheran against oppression inevitably passes for support for the Palestinian cause “.

Given the situation with the eyes of Israel, Jerusalem considers it necessary for the international community to reconsider the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action and to negotiate a different solution based on different assumptions. For Israel, the military sites should be inspected (today subject to the approval of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran) as requested also by the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.

And here we are talking about a great power in the area, Russia. How could Moscow in Jerusalem be useful? The good relations between the two countries, according to Mieli, could be “the key to convincing Tehran and Damascus to evaluate some solutions that would allow greater regional security, including the proposal of a 40-kilometer demilitarized zone on the border with Israel”.

The Russian presence in Syria is considered “a double-edged sword for Israel, because Hezbollah could strengthen its military capacity through weapons and logistics such as P-800 surface-to-air missiles and Yakhont cruise missiles”.

In spite of the historical rivalry between Israel and Syria, Jerusalem will not promote and hope not even the Western nations, the end of the Assad regime, do so. A situation that would certainly lead to “an increase in instability and the proliferation of jihadist groups”.

And as for Lebanon, the prospect of a country controlled by pro-Iranian militia in the border area scares Israel. The Armed Forces observe the Golan Heights as the last boundary that “separates the Islamic Revolution from the main Western ally in the Middle East. Israel therefore expects, reasonably, that in addition to criticism of Syrian-Iranian attacks”.

What could be the future of the Middle Eastern area? According to Mieli, the tension between the two nations must be reduced and the stabilization process of the Syrian area must be accelerated. Such as? Using international diplomacy with direct intervention by the United Nations and the European Union, as well as the various Member States. They do not have to accept, continues the researcher, “passively not only the hegemonic projection and the expansionism that Iran carries forward, but also the Iranian support to terrorist organizations and the possible achievement of a minimal nuclear capability that would definitively risk the region “.

Meanwhile, the legislative elections scheduled for the Knesset will be held on April 9th. The head of government Bibi Netanyahu intends, clearly, to remain able to finish a series of activities of domestic and foreign policy.

But how did it arrive at this date? It all started when former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman proposed a bill, backed by ultra-Orthodox parties, that would allow Torah students to be exempt from serving in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) .

The parties of Meretz (expression of the left) and Yesh Atid (of a center and secular nature) presented a proposal, on March 12 last year, to demand the dissolution of Parliament.

The ongoing struggle with ultra-Orthodox parties always on the question of military service has led to the Government crisis. 




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International security


Annalisa Triggiano

Islamic terrorist radicalization and proselytism are closely connected phenomena that are nurtured thanks to an intense recruitment activity in the prison, as well as through the secret channels of the dark web. Numerous studies have shown how the prison represents a risk-extremism factor in particular for foreign prisoners. There are many episodes of terrorism in which it was found that the authors had embraced the radical drift after being held in prisons. To name just a few, the authors of the Strasbourg attack of 11 December 2018 and of the attack on the Christmas markets in Berlin in 2016, have both been radicalized within detention facilities, respectively in France and Italy. As for Cheriff Chekatt, the person responsible for the terrorist incident in Strasbourg, he was also reported by the general directorate of internal security for religious proselytism.

As stated in the introduction of the 2015-2020 European Security Agenda, even though the primary competence on security, especially in places of detention, lies with the Member States, they "can no longer assure them alone, because threats are increasingly differentiated and international, and have an increasingly cross-border and inter-sectoral nature ". In this way the contribution of the European Union has become indispensable.

Among the first interventions of the European institutions, in particular on the prevention of radicalization, there was the diffusion of the manual "Violent Radicalization, recognition of the phenomenon by the professional groups involved" in 2009. The document was drafted by an international Commission formed by Austria, France and Germany, with the support of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security.

Especially aimed at the penitentiary operators of the Member States of the Union, the document advocates the idea, shared, that prison is the place where extremist religious ideologies (especially Islamic) are more likely to take root. The aim is to provide useful indicators to help prison staff identify detainees in the process of radicalization, reporting behaviors that, taken individually, do not provide absolute evidence of actual fanaticism, but assessed overall should "push for vigilance and surveillance and, if necessary, to act accordingly ".

Many of these indicators concern the ways in which religious practice of the restricted is exercised: the intensification of prayer; a selective attitude towards imams considered moderate; the external disapproval of those who, equally Muslim, are judged not 'observant'; the decision to decorate the room with prayer rugs, Islamic calligraphy, images from the Koran; or changes in appearance such as beard growth or the choice of wearing traditional clothes.

In the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo's Parisian attack, these criteria have been updated and in Italy the Prison Administration Department has released circular 009340/2015, which has incorporated additional symptomatic behaviors of possible dynamics of proselytism and radicalization among prisoners .

In reality, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union had already for some time established the new European External Action Service, whose activity, following numerous episodes linked to Islamist terrorism, has been characterized by an increasing attention religious phenomenon.

The contrast to radicalization plays a central role, as we mentioned, also in the 2015-2020 program envisaged by the 2015 European Security Agenda and the fight against terrorism and the prevention of radicalization are one of the three priorities of the Agenda. The fight against these phenomena should go through ever-increasing cooperation between Member States, through the establishment of a European counter-terrorism center within Europol in order to intensify the support provided to the Member States at EU level and greater involvement Eurojust to improve the coordination of investigations and prosecutions.

As for the phenomena of radicalization that occur in the prison context, it is the same Agenda that includes prison staff among the "local actors", ie the subjects having direct contact with those most at risk of radicalization. Therefore, with the support of the European organization of penal and correctional institutions (Europris), the Commission is committed to promoting the exchange of good practices and training in the prevention of radicalization and de-radicalization in prisons. Focusing on preventing radicalization in prisons and developing effective de-radicalization programs appear, in short, in the Agenda, among the actions to be taken to ensure a higher level of internal security within the Union.

Also in 2015, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on the Prevention of Radicalization and the Recruitment of European Citizens by Terrorist Organizations. An entire chapter of the document is dedicated to the prevention of violent extremism and terrorist radicalization in prisons, to which points 10 to 14 are dedicated.

In particular, through the resolution, the European Parliament:

Calls on the Commission to promote the exchange of good practices among the Member States in order to counter the increase in terrorist radicalization in European prisons; also calls on it to disseminate guidelines on measures to be applied in European prisons to prevent radicalization and violent extremism, while fully respecting human rights.

It encourages Member States to take immediate action against overcrowding in prisons, which significantly increases the risk of radicalization and reduces rehabilitation opportunities.

Remember that detention or rehabilitation centers can also become places of radicalization of minors, a particularly vulnerable target.

He stressed that a possible measure to prevent the terrorist radicalization imposed by detainees whose accession to violent extremism is ascertained is the isolation of the latter, who often use intimidating methods to condition the choices of other inmates.

It emphasizes the importance of appropriate formation and selection of religious, philosophical and lay representatives, so that they can not only respond adequately to cultural and spiritual needs in prisons, but also help to counterbalance the potential of radical discourse.

The delicate relationship between prison overcrowding and the radicalization of prisoners was also the subject of the European Parliament Resolution of 5 October 2017 on prison systems and conditions of detention. In particular, to help prevent radicalization, Parliament recommended staff training, prison intelligence, inter-religious dialogue and psychological assistance.

A few days after the attack in Strasbourg, MEPs once again called for the adoption of specific programs for the prevention and countering of radicalization in prison, among the proposals presented on December 14, 2018 to tackle radicalization, improve interoperability data and support the victims.

What measures have been taken in Italy?

Among the initiatives promoted in this sense, there was also in Italy a bill promoted by Mr Dambruoso, aimed at introducing measures for the prevention of radicalization and violent jihadist extremism. Despite the approval of the Chamber of Deputies on 18 July 2017, the proposal saw the end of the legislature without reaching the Senate and therefore seems to have fallen for now.

This bill provided for preventive measures and recovery of already radicalized subjects such as, for example, the annual preparation by the Minister of Justice of a national plan to "guarantee Italian prisoners or foreigners prisoners a [... ] promote their de-radicalization and their recovery ".

Ultimately, we are still far from the adoption by the Member States of legislative measures which concretely implement the recommendations of the institutions. 



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The Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units

Crossing the gates of the Center of Excellence for the Stability Police, the visitor is seized by a sensation of pleasant contrast between the austerity of the building and the modernity of the professional environment: on the one hand the severe setting of the historic Vicenza barracks where the Center it is based, on the other hand, such a number of different uniforms that in order to see them all, one should go around the world.

The CoESPU (Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units) was officially born on 1 March 2005 following a decision by the G8 countries which, taking into account the changes in the 1990s, aimed at improving the way in which support of critical areas of the world by adopting broad-spectrum measures or, with more modern, global terms. This decision also included the interventions in favor of Peace included in the Action Plan adopted the previous year called “Expanding Global Capability in Peace Support Operations”. The plan identified the African continent as the area on which the support of the G8 countries converged.

It was a model that was then innovative to support peace and growth in the world, which was based on integrated intervention in strategic areas such as the economic, social, health, military and police. In the latter sector it was planned, among other things, to train and equip, by 2010, a number of 7,500 belonging to law enforcement agencies.

In this context, Italy, which enjoyed an excellent background thanks to the experience gained by the Carabinieri, particularly in the Balkans, became available to create a qualified structure for training at least 3,000 trainers with the “Train the Trainers” technique. , which would have the commitment to continue training in their own countries until the planned 7500 units were reached.

In this way the foundations were laid for the creation of the Center of Excellence for the Stability Police. A project that is certainly ambitious and the first in our country where there were not yet similar centers with an international vocation. In addition to the consent of the G8 countries, the initiative received important support from the US State Department with which a lasting partnership was launched in the context of the “Global Peace Operations Initiative”.

The knowledge acquired on the ground had shown that the deployment of a police component, in the context of a peace mission, constituted an amplification of the security conditions for the contribution provided first of all in maintaining order and public security, a typical function of any Police and primary condition to start a process of Peace and stability.

The deployment of the MSU - Multinational Specialized Unit - the Carabinieri registers in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo fully met the need and was undoubtedly a milestone in the history of Stability Policing.

The CoESPU was therefore born on the synthesis of the operational and doctrinal activities carried out up to that moment but with the ambition to grow as a specialized hub internationally, identifying in a Department and in a Department of Studies and Research its supporting structures and placing at the top of the structure a Director with the rank of General Officer of the Carabinieri (currently the Brigadier General Giovanni Pietro Barbano) and a deputy director provided by the United States.

The first five years of activity represented an important period during which the CoESPU was able to develop but also and above all to highlight. In this regard, it is indicative to indicate the request for participation in the activities carried out “in progress” by many other countries on all continents.

Among the many factors of this success was undoubtedly the way of organizing the courses, based on two levels of teaching: one for the operating staff and one for the higher levels intended for the levels of command. A modern vision for the Stability Policing sector which, as a nascent discipline, stimulated the identification of organizational and operational models based on internationally shared standards.

The final budget was fully successful with the qualification of more than 4500 visitors, plus an important number of conferences and study activities with the participation of high-level personalities and institutions.

Significant in this sense was the important collaboration with the United Nations. Begun with an experimental activity of evaluating the visitors for UN missions on an individual basis, in 2010 it became a Memorandum of Understanding. Today the CoESPU is a partner of the Department of Peace Keeping Operations (DPKO) with which it maintains wide-ranging relations both in the research and in the operational field, also thanks to a further document of agreement signed, last June, by Gen Barbano and the Police Adviser of the Department itself, Luis Carrilho. Many of the publications concerning the subject have been elaborated with the collaboration of experienced personnel of the Center and at the same time the synergy in training has reached excellent levels considering that the CoESPU is qualified to establish the Stability Policing Unit which normally happens with a basic period in Vicenza followed by the “pre-deployment” phase that takes place “at home” with the sending of instructors to the country of origin of the unit.

The signing of the agreement with the UN also marked the beginning of a new phase of life of the Center characterized by the expansion of the mission and the identification of new objectives witnessed by a proliferation of relationships the International Red Cross, the African Union, the International Organization for Migration, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training and the NATO School. All this has stimulated the development of a strongly dynamic and flexible activity, where the identification of an updated training offer that complies with the operating reality has undoubtedly made the difference. The two basic courses of the initial phase gave way to a new path of study characterized by a high level of specialization in areas such as the protection of minorities, the protection of gender, the protection of civilians, the relationships between civilians, soldiers and police, international humanitarian law, High Risk Operations, advanced notions for commanders and unit coordinators.

In view of the high standard reached in the theoretical teaching field, the CoESPU has simultaneously updated the training techniques on the ground with the aim of making them more and more realistic. The result is a simulation circuit through which exercises are carried out with a high coefficient of approach to reality, based on a training area and a computerized command room, where all the exercises are carried out in opposing parties. Specifically trained instructors, in fact, simulate the moves of a hypothetical counterparty, urging coherent answers from the students both from the point of view of compliance with international regulations and procedures. Thanks to the radio and digital connection of the two sectors it is also possible to perform complete operational actions in an environment of strong involvement in which every visitor can put into practice the notions of stress management received.

Recently, the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) also referred to the CoESPU structures, launching a series of activities for the training of its personnel in the current and delicate sector of the fight against trafficking in human beings.

Although the Institute has its own teachers selected among experts Officials, there is much recourse to external professors identified among cultural figures, university professors, members of international organizations that are part of a larger and already mentioned plan to expand relations with national universities and foreign, civil and military institutions, Police Forces all over the world. In this context it is important to point out the collaboration with the European Union which, among other things, has carried out its annual exercises for police units several times in Vicenza with the presence of representatives of almost all the Member States.

Translated into numbers, the thirteen years of the CoESPU’s life speak of 11200 licensed visitors and of relationships established with 115 countries and 17 International Organizations.

The topicality of the Stability Policing was recently reaffirmed by the United Nations during the 73rd General Assembly where the “Action for Peacekeeping” project was launched, recognizing the Peace Missions as one of the most important instruments for guaranteeing stability in the world. proposes to make the peacekeeping instrument more effective and modern in the face of the new challenges that have emerged in recent years.

All this only renews the commitment of the Center of Excellence for the Stability Police, flagship unit of the Carabinieri and world peace ambassador.