16 European young professionals have immersive cultural heritage experience at Residency in Naples

A group of 16 young heritage professionals from different parts of Europe spent a week in Naples for a full cultural heritage immersion in a bottom-up social urban regeneration project in the district of Sanità. The first European Heritage Youth Residency, organised by Europa Nostra and La Paranza Cooperative with the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, took place from 13-18 March 2023.

The Faro Convention took centre stage in the programme of the residency as the founders and local youth of the cooperative La Paranza showed the sites of the Catacombs of St Gennaro, the beloved local patron saint of Naples, and the Catacombs of St Gaudioso, as well as the currently closed Cemetery of Fontanelle. Various churches and empty buildings that were not in use were brought to life with after-school activities. There is an orchestra, a theatre group, a recoding studio, a publishing house and an active community of locals that are employed by La Paranza, hence offering real opportunities in an area of the city that had often been in the news for negative events.

A trailer of the European Heritage Youth Residency in Rione Sanità

The urban context of Rione Sanità in Naples

That narrative discouraged local and tourists from entering this district which touches the historic centre and is home to 32,000 people in an area of just two square kilometers. This reputation has been turned upside down over the course of two decades by activating local engagement in the neighbourhood’s heritage, to attract tourists, open doors and offer after-school and employment opportunities to an area where the school dropout rate is 30% and youth unemployment is at 65%. .

La Paranza won the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award in 2022 and this European recognition had a profound impact on the protagonists of this adventure. 

The European Heritage Youth Residencies programme was organised in the framework of Europa Nostra’s Network Project European Cultural Heritage Agora “Empowering Europe’s Civil Society Movement for Heritage”, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. 

A short documentary of this experience is in the making and the participants are now evaluating and sharing the experience.

European Heritage Youth Residency - Rione Sanità
Click on the side of the photo to show more pictures

More than 150 young people from across Europe applied to participate, hence the evaluation and feedback will be further communicated to reach a wider audience.

Watch the conclusions

The final day of the residency brought together the participants and experts that reflected and commented on the experience. The livestream can be watched again below and chapters allow to quickly find each intervention.

Padre Antonio Loffredo, former parish priest of Rione Sanitá and initiator of this project recounted the genesis, motivation and impact of the empowerment of young people embracing cultural heritage for a meaningful social project.

Carla Toffolo, Board Member of Europa Nostra and Eduardo Gargiulo, Member of Cooperativa LA PARANZA moderated the event with the following guest speakers:

Walter Zampieri – Head of Unit Culture, European Education and Culture Executive Agency, European Commission (connected from Brussels)
Luisella Pavan-Woolfe – Director of the Council of Europe Office in Venice
Erminia Sciacchitano – Ministry of Culture, Multilateral Relations (connected from Rome)
Pier Paolo Baretta – President of Res Association and Member of the City Government of Naples in charge of economic affairs
Francesco Calzolaio – Coordinator of Faro Italia Platform (connected from Matera)
Gaia Redaelli – President of Asociación PAX- Patios de la Axerquía
Graham Bell – Board Member of Europa Nostra (connected from UK)

Walter Zampieri said during his live intervention from Brussels:
“In the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union we have thousands of organisations, we fund events of all types, activities, conferences and we publish books. It is always about people, what remains is the impact on people, and this is exactly what you did.”

Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, also commented remotely and praised the inspirational words of Padre Loffredo and thanked La Paranza, the group of participants, the speakers and everybody involved:
“We are excited to have embarked together on this journey of organising the European Heritage Youth Residency. It is the world premiere. We would have not been able to organise it without La Paranza Cooperative and the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. There was an energy, an incredible motivation and professionalism that came from our award winner and we are incredibly grateful for this.”

National TV coverage

An interview with Susy Galeone from La Paranza took place during the European Heritage Youth Residency and broadcast on Italian National TV channel RAI 3 during GEO, one of the longest running TV documentary shows about nature and culture.


Even now, after it’s been a while since we got back home from Naples to our day-to-day duties and jobs, I am constantly finding myself thinking about the people I met in this residency, thinking about the La Paranza group and the extraordinary week we had together. Being the first time I’ve done something like this, I didn’t know what to expect, but surely, I didn’t expect it to be an experience that would be, in a peculiar and unexpected way, life changing (Simona Iovanescu, Romania)

[…] We wondered for days to discover and begin to understand Rione Sanitá. Each of our discovery walks was set in this amazing cultural landscape – a dreamy blue background with lush green leaves springing from garden pots, thick walls and churches with plenty of stories to whisper, pasticcerias, and the intense smell of coffee. We started right under the infamous bridge and ended on the slope leading up to Capodimonte. And as walking remains one of the best ways to discover a place, I was happy to witness a sense of community, friendship, and togetherness among the locals, that still feels like a dream for a large city. (Sorina Neacsu, Romania)

[…] I enjoyed every minute of this experience in the EHYR, and profoundly affected my view of what was possible in terms of cultural and urban regeneration. Learning from all of the exceptional and passionate people in La Paranza, and all of their incredible achievements over the past 20 years, alongside the wonderful people and heritage professionals in this residency was a very fulfilling experience for me. I’m very inspired to promote cultural heritage and urban regeneration in my own community. (Freya McMorrow, Ireland)

I learned that it’s important to never be afraid of anything. The residency was a challenging experience, and sometimes I felt out of my depth. But Article 3 of the FARO Convention reminds us that Europe’s heritage is a shared legacy, and it’s up to us to contribute to its preservation and promotion […]In Naples, I found inspiration, emotions, faith in beauty and friendship. This experience has had a profound impact on me, and I’m excited to use what I’ve learned to promote cultural heritage and democratic participation in my own community. (Tetiana Golub, Ukraine)

[…] In conclusion, La Paranza’s efforts to address some of the most pressing issues facing the community have been successful because of their commitment to creating a more vibrant, safe, and culturally rich neighbourhood. By providing cultural spaces and offerings for young people, collaborating with the tourism sector, and working to reduce crime and improve integration, they have succeeded in creating a more positive reputation for the area. The success of La Paranza’s efforts is a testament to the power of friendship, vocation, and motivation in creating positive change. (Andrea Marsili, Italy)

Testimonial from La Paranza
We worked very hard to organize the best program by trying to squeeze everything we do in less than a week. We think that the result was formative for everybody.
Being in contact with peers coming from different parts of Europe and with very diverse backgrounds, we learned a lot and after all the discussions we felt like we could do way more to improve the community where we live. The whole experience was for the Cooperative a true energy booster. We gained more skills by comparing and being exposed with other points of view. Even though this is what we do everyday, by talking and analyzing our involvement in the district, this experience improved our awareness in community involvement.
It was our first Residency but it turned out to be a true inspiration for the future.

Programme of the residency

Monday, 13 March

19.30 Welcome dinner with local cuisine
Venue: Casa del Monacone (Via Sanità, 124, 80136, Naples)

Tuesday, 14 March

9.30 – 9.45 Kick-off – online welcome messages by:
Antonio Parenti, Head of the European Commission Representation in Italy (tbc)
Cristina Loglio, Council Member Europa Nostra

Casa del Monacone (Via Sanità, 124, 80136, Naples)

9.45 – 13.00 Travelling: the value of coming back home with a new perspective
Faro Convention, Art 3: The common heritage of Europe
Moderator: Vincenzo Porzio, Communication Manager Cooperativa LA PARANZA
Venue: Basilica di Santa Maria della Sanità (Piazza Sanità, 14, 80136, Naples)

14.30 – 18.00 The dream: how desire can transform reality and turn space into a place
Faro Convention, Art 13: Cultural heritage and knowledge
Moderator: Vincenzo Porzio, Communication Manager Cooperativa LA PARANZA
Venue: La Casa dei Cristallini (Vicoletto Cristallini, 10, 80136 Naples)

19.00 – 22:00 City tour of Naples with the Paranza group (Optional)

Wednesday, 15 March

9.30 – 13.00 Young people, employment and change: adding value
Faro Convention, Art 10: Cultural heritage and economic activity
Moderators: Founding members of Cooperativa LA PARANZA
Venues: Catacombe di San Gennaro (Via Capodimonte, 13, 80100, Naples)
Basilica San Gennaro Extra Moenia
(Vico S. Gennaro dei Poveri, 80136, Naples)

14.30 – 18.00 Educating about beauty: enabling people to recognise the value of cultural heritage
Faro Convention, Art. 7: Cultural heritage and dialogue
Faro Convention, Art. 8: Environment, heritage and quality of life
Faro Convention, Art. 9: Sustainable use of the cultural heritage
Moderator: Antonio Della Corte, Training Manager Cooperativa LA PARANZA
Venue: Chiesa di San Severo fuori le mura
(Piazzetta San Severo a Capodimonte, 81, 80136 Naples)

20.30 – 22.30 Football match projection “Napoli vs. Eintracht Frankfurt”
in the unique atmosphere of the Sanità neighborhood (Optional)

Thursday, 16 March

9.30 – 13.00 Cooperation as a priority: new projects on responsibility, solidarity, gift culture
Faro Convention, Art 4: Rights and responsibilities relating to cultural heritage
Moderator: Antonio Iaccarino, Training Manager Cooperativa LA PARANZA
Venues: Chiesa Sant’Aspreno (Piazzetta Crociferi, 80137 Naples) followed by
Chiesa dei Cristallini (Via dei Cristallini 72, 80137, Naples)

14.30 – 18.00 Sistema Sanità : the value of networking
Faro Convention, Art 12: Access to cultural heritage and democratic participation
Moderator: Gaetano Balestra, Social Media Manager of Cooperativa LA PARANZA
Venue: Casa di comunità “Cristallini 73” (Via dei Cristallini 73, 80137, Naples)
19.00 – 22.00 After-work aperitivo at Borgo Vergini (Optional)

Friday, 17 March

9.30 – 13.00 New borders: the regeneration processes are never ending
Faro Convention, Art 11: The organisation of public responsibilities for cultural heritage
Moderators: Serena Napoletano, Member of Cooperativa LA PARANZA
Testimonials: Marino Amodio, Giuseppe De Pascale, Orazio Nicodemo and Davide Savoia, Architects of «G124 Napoli» Project.
Venue: Parrocchia Maria Santissima del Carmine
(Via Fontanelle, 76, 80136, Naples)
14.30 Rehearsal of the final session
Venue: Ipogei della Basilica dell’Incoronata Madre del Buon Consiglio a Capodimonte
(Via Capodimonte, 13, 80136, Naples)

15.30 – 18.00 Final session: wrap-up and key take-aways
Venue: Ipogei della Basilica dell’Incoronata Madre del Buon Consiglio a Capodimonte
(Via Capodimonte, 13, 80136, Naples)

Latest articles about Awards

Message by Executive President and Secretary General

Europa Nostra Board and Awards Jury have meetings and engage with the vibrant heritage scene in Potsdam

Europa Nostra joins the 2024 European Summit of Regions and Cities

More Articles +