URBACT Implementation Networks

video cases


Le pescherie de Giulio Romano is one of the cornerstones of the regeneration action at the heart of Mantova’s commitment to the Int-Herit project. The story in images of the action that the city is carrying out in collaboration with its local network of stakeholders in the URBACT network dedicated to the themes of cultural heritage.

Mantova granted the regeneration of this monument in the heart of the city, rediscovering in this way part of its history. INT-HERIT project supports the partner cities with the innovative and sustainable management of the cultural heritage.

The project has some objectives:

  • Restoration of the monument in order to open it to the public
  • Reopening of the permanent access to the Rio canal banks, to recreate the connection among the town of Mantova, its citizens and its water.
  • Open the attic part to be a unique great hall, create cultural activities, economic activities, and a cafeteria with local and organic products.

Funds are coming from banking foundations and other fundraising activities.

In this video, we can listen to the experiences of Paolo Corbellani (INT-HERIT ULG member), Sebastiano Bertoni (architect), Stefania Roversini (microbiology professor at Mantegna High School), among others.

Le Pescherie de Giulio Romano in Mantova


1. Le Pescherie di Giulio Romano, Mantova


The Municipality of Mantova granted the Pescherie and Beccherie buildings to a private foundation with the goal to restore, preserve and reuse the abandoned complex. The strategy for this action is to give back to the city a living part of its historical center, forming a renovated pole for cultural activities in the heart of the town, while making the management of the space more sustainable for the Municipality. The monument is particularly remarkable for the city context, as its water-related nature has an important link to the lacustrine roots and identity of Mantova, and its positioning as monumental entrance to the city historical center makes it one of the most important landmarks in the town.


Solutions offered by the case example

The project concerning the Pescherie and Beccherie complex offers a variety of solutions, that can be resumed on three main strands:

  • the restoration works will allow the reuse of a neglected public space and renovation of the historical buildings with the consequent recovery of the related cultural heritage and history, making also the area more attractive for citizens and tourists;
  • the creation of a public/private collaboration, between the Municipality and the foundation, has made the management of the complex more sustainable and it will ease the burden for the public administration for the following years;
  • the creation of the public/private collaboration, based on a multidisciplinary and holistic methodology of the governance and management process of the city, has also encouraged a participatory approach to the project, bringing together citizens, cultural operators and authorities.

Building on the sustainable and integrated approach


The strategy of the project contemplates also the aspect related to the sustainability of the actions in the middle and long term, as a matter of facts the foundation also plans to start some form of business in the complex to ease the burden of the costs related to the management of the buildings. The activities are going to be a bar/cafeteria that will sell local and organic products, and once the navigation facilities on the Rio Canal will be restored it will be possible to start a form of public transport and touristic attraction that could exploit the direct link to the lakes. The foundation, with the support of the Municipality and its different offices (environment, urban planning, UNESCO and an interdisciplinarity approach between the different sectors), is also in charge of finding the economic resources needed to complete the works and to start the new business activities, and it has started different forms of fundraising activities, starting from crowdfunding methods to bank loans and applying for private, regional and national funding opportunities.

Based on a participatory approach

The Municipality has involved the local stakeholders, during the ULG meetings, to devise a strategy for the use of the spaces in the Pescherie building once they’ll be renovated. Using this participatory approach mixed the know-how of the different stakeholders, fostering possible future collaborations. The focus of the meetings was to help the foundation in the process of choosing the destination for the attic space, which will be used to host cultural activities with various stakeholders involved, and to devise the best strategy for the business activities that will be hosted by the complex.

What difference has it made? How did the result indicator shift?

The creation of a public/private collaboration in order to restore and manage the monuments has eased the Municipality both on the administrative and economic aspects, fostering also the civic participation in such a strategic action for the town. The project itself is the reason for the creation of a new private cultural subject in the city, Fondazione Le Pescherie di Giulio Romano, that will not only act on the buildings but also on their cultural animation, bringing tens of new cultural events in the heart of the city center (1 per month circa). The restoration works will give back the community at least one space for cultural activities, and at least one new related business activity. It’s still too soon to ascertain the impacts of the action on tourism, but for sure the citizens are eager to see the results of the project, and the participation of local high schools (Istituto Mantegna, Liceo Belfiore) to the activities of monitoring the quality of the waters of the Rio Canal is a good starting point, with several classes and teachers involved in the process.

Why should other EU cities use it?

Other EU cities should use this kind of approach as it could give them the opportunity to preserve and restore part of their cultural heritage while avoiding the risk of selling invaluable monuments (or other kinds of heritage) to private subjects. In this way the costs, both economic and of Human Resources, for the public administration is greatly reduced, if not completely, while the object of the action remains of public domain with all the advantages for the city related to this aspect. The participatory approach in the decision-making process is also very important, as it raises the awareness of the citizens about a specific monument, its history and cultural value for the town. The cooperation between public and private sector could be hard at times, but if it is successful it could bring great results to a city and its heritage in terms of innovation and sustainability.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • Startand end dates of case example 2016 – 21
  • Dateof preparation of this case example 20/10/18
  • Whoprepared the case example? Emanuele Salmin
  • Budget€ 752.000

Extra information and hyperlinks

Le Pescherie di Giulio Romano in Mantova. The INT-HERIT gaze 

Cases Examples Espinho

1. Valorization of Castro de Ovíl, Espinho (Portugal)

Case Example Summary

This case is an example of a project of valorisation of a cultural space, specifically the Castro de Ovil, inserted in a natural area, as an evocative or propitiating place of memories (recovered / recreated), as well as a natural space of usufruct and leisure activities. This is an example of an approach to the valuation of an “Archaeological Site”, in an integrated perspective, complementary to other interventions programmed, carried out or in progress, executed by the Municipality with the support of other entities and participated with the involvement of citizens in its construction, can change the visibility of a place and motivate the citizens’ interest in it. Even with reduced investments (at the level of operation and maintenance) and small actions it is possible to value an Archaeological Site, enhancing its cultural, industrial and natural value of the place.

It represents a settlement of the Iron Age, integrated in the denominated culture of the northwestern peninsula, where the human occupation from at least the 3rd century BC to the contemporaneity has been documented. It integrates an industrial mill, constituted by the ruins of a Paper Factory Castle, installed there since the 2nd quarter of the century. XIX, and that worked until the decade of 1970. All this inserted in a natural space, marginal to the river «Rio Maior», where it has constituted the concern of the Municipality to proceed the gradual elimination of the monoculture forest, favouring of the indigenous vegetable species.

Solutions offered by the case example

In 2006, the Municipality presented an application for community funds in connection with a project for the Valorisation of the Castro de Ovil, budgeted at approximately 5,000,000.00 €, which provided for the construction of an Interpretive Center, with various capacities. In view of its non-approval, the Municipality opted for a phased implementation of a (simplified) project consisting of small interventions in the area (costs approximately 300,000). It aimed to return the “site” to the usufruct of the citizens and to involve them in the decision-making process throughout the execution of the same, to promote the usufruct of the space in the slope of leisure, through a cycle path, of connection to the sea.

Through the improvement of access to the site and the construction of routes and signage, accompanied by a work to promote the site, it was possible to increase the notoriety of the place and the interest of the citizens in the cultural and playful aspect of the use of space. The introduction of the Castro in the natural route of the county, aroused the interest by the place and an increase of visitors.

Figures 1,2 and 3 – Castro de Ovil before Intervention

Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

It is an example of a case for the sustainable (economic and environmental) and integrated approach.
We opted for a project with low operating and maintenance costs, in order to ensure the economic sustainability of the project. On the other hand, given the high natural and scenic value of the fauna and flora where the Castro is inserted, it was also decided to make light interventions, without major impacts on the landscape, through the choice of natural materials such as wood in signage and in construction of footpaths.
The implementation of the Castro Valuation project also involves an integrated implementation network that includes, in addition to the severel departments of the municipality, other institutions / entities, specifically Cré.Porto, an institution led by AMP and the Catholic University responsible for planting trees of traditional forest, in order to return native species to the site. It also includes the Municipal Museum of Espinho, guardian of the collection collected in Castro’s research, which is equally important in the valorization, promotion and promotion of the Archaeological Station and its estate.

Based on a participatory approach

It is a participatory project that involved the collection of contributions from institutions / entities that make up the ULG, as well as those from the Urbact project, from the residents who visit the site.

The phased implementation of the project allowed the process to become more involved, as it allowed to create a closer approximation with the resident community and in particular with the members of the ULG. Through the ULG meetings and the site visit with its members, held after the first phase of the work and the preparation of the 2nd phase, it was possible to collect several contributions from the various institutions/entities that makeup, in order to validate or reorient the strategy below.

What difference has it made? How did the result indicator shift?

There has been a change in the attitude of the local population towards Castro de Ovil. As a result of the greater dissemination of the “Sitio” and the small investments made there, there is an awakening of the social communication to the place, translated in a significant number of news, in local and national newspapers.
This shows a greater demand for the site, hitherto unknown by a large part of the local community, and therefore a greater number of visitors and guided visits to its “site.”

Why should other EU cities use it?

Small and small projects can have major impacts on local visibility and greater citizen involvement. As integrated projects with involvement of other entities / institutions and partnerships with citizens can be effective and more accepted by the resident community.

Figures 4, 5 6 and 7 – Castro de Ovil after Intervention

Key Facts and Figures:

Start and end dates of case example

January 2018- December 2020

Date of preparation of this case example

November 2018

Who prepared the case example?

Projetct’s team


300.000,00 €

Extra information and hyperlinks

voxpop videos

What are the benefits of working with a ULG?

Mantova (Italy)

MANTOVA has asked their ULG members what they think about working together in the frame of the implementation of cultural strategies of the city. Promoting the participation of the actors involved in the development of our cities is a unique element of the URBACT Program methodology. When it comes to implementing heritage management strategies in small European cities, such as Mantova, the actors recognize the positive result presented by this participatory method. Collaboration, new ideas, discussion, experience and shared vision are some of the fifth essences highlighted by the interviewees.

Working whit a ULG in Mantova

Author: Mantova Team