The proposed workshop is organized by Fondazione Santagata in the quality of technical partner of the master in “World Heritage and Cultural Projects for Development” managed by ITC-ILO/Turin School of Development, University and Politecnico di Torino, in partnership with UNESCO World Heritage Centre and in collaboration with ICCROM, the University Paris 1 Sorbonne – Pantheon and the Macquarie University of Sydney – Australia.

The activity is aimed at transferring the participants of the course the capacity to design a cultural project for development, having the possibility to work on a real case study. The case proposed for this edition, in accordance with the scientific directors of the master, is the cultural-natural heritage of the Oropa Sanctuary and Botanical Garden in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sacred Mountains of Piedmont and Lombardy. Students will have the possibility to investigate the site through a site visit and the provided information materials, and to work in groups to test and apply the project methodology acquired during the course lectures, with specific regard to the project management (problem analysis, objective analysis, actions and feasibility).



The “UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sacred Mountains of Piedmont and Lombardy” comprises 9 separate complexes of Sacred Mountains where a number of chapels and other architectural features are located. Those were built in the late 16th and 17th centuries and dedicated to different aspects of the Christian faith; the greatest Piedmontese and Lombard artists of the period created paintings and sculptures representing the most edifying episodes of the life of Jesus, Mary, or the Saints, constituting a remarkable artistic heritage.

The Oropa Sanctuary is the most significant religious building in the Sacred Mountain of Oropa, located at about 1.200 masl, 12 km from the city of Biella and surrounded by a stunning mountainous circle. It is a Marian Sanctuary, devoted to the cult of the Black Virgin, whose statue (that according to the tradition was brought from Palestine by St. Eusebius back in the 4th century AD) is worshipped in the Ancient Basilica, a building of 1600 built on an ancient chapel. In 1960 in order to welcome the large number of pilgrims, the Upper Basilica was consecrated.

The access to the Sanctuary of Oropa is free, while a service of guided tours is available. The Sanctuary is property of the Ente Autonomo Laicale di Culto Santuario di Oropa. In proximity of the sanctuary complex is located a building that hosts the Museum of the Treasures (where the collection of religious and liturgic objects is exposed) and the Savoia Royal Apartments, accessible with a dedicated ticket. Since 2005, the Special Natural Reserve of the Sacred Mountain of Oropa protects 1500 hectares of natural heritage in the area, spanning from 750 to 2388 masl.

The Natural Reserve allows visitors to engage in sport activities like hiking, alpinism, mountain bike and skiing and hosts a network of trails that, starting from the Sanctuary, conducts to the ten Chapels of the Sacred Mountain and to the Lakes of the Boses and of Mucrone. The Oropa Botanical Garden is located close to the Sanctuary and within the Natural Reserve. Declared an Area of Botanical Interest according to the Regional Law 22/1983, it is owned by the Ente Autonomo Laicale di Culto Santuario di Oropa.

The management is entrusted to WWF Oasi e Aree Protette Piemontesi office in Biella, supported by the cooperative Clorofilla of Biella for the activities of environmental education. The Oropa Botanical Garden cultivates 500 different species and varieties of plants. The spontaneous species are sub-divided into small separate environments to enable easy recognition of most of the flora of the Oropa Nature Reserve.

The ornamental alpine plants are cultivated in enclosed rockeries: in this way the visitor can appreciate the varied vegetation of the different mountain ranges world-wide. The ornamental flora comprises collections of Peonies, Salvias and Rhododendrons. Among the interesting high-altitude vegetation is the symbol of the Garden Campanula excisa, endemic to a restricted area of the Alps.



The workshop is realized within the Master in “World Heritage and cultural projects for development” – 2020/2021″ in collaboration with:

Fondazione Santagata, ETS WWF Oasi e Aree protette Piemontesi and Santuario di Oropa.



The program of the workshop is articulated in 5 working days with site visit, theoretical sessions and work group activities.


May 17th , 2021: Class visit to Oropa

8.30: Departure from Turin

10.30-12.30: Brief introduction to the workshop week (Alessio Re) Meeting with Linda Angeli, Communication Manager of Oropa Sanctuary Presentation of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sacred Mountains of Piedmont and Lombardy Site visit to the Sanctuary of Oropa

12.30 – 13.30: Lunch break

13.30-15.30 Meeting with Maria Luisa Pedullà and Alessio Vaccari, Oasi WWF Giardino Botanico di Oropa Site visit to the Oropa Botanical Garden

16.00: Return to Turin


May 18th 2021: Introduction; Problems and objectives, part 1

9.30-10.00 Main takeaways from the site visit to Oropa

10.00 – 11.00 Introduction to the group work:

  • – Problem/s identification
  • – Objective/s identification
  • – Results
  • – Activities
  • – Benchmarking and good practices
  • – Feasibility: costs-returns-partnerships-human resources

11.00-12.30 Introduction to the five working topics:

  • 1. Place attractiveness & tourism positioning
  • 2. Visitor management (visitor services, visit paths, accessibility, …)
  • 3. Engagement, networking, fundraising
  • 4. UNESCO District
  • 5. Business development and cultural innovation Groups definition: students will be divided into 5 groups (1 per topic: each working group will work paying specific attention to one specific topic)

Group definition: students will be divided into 5 groups (1 per topic: each working group will work paying specific attention to one specific topic).

14.00-16.00 – Group work part1: Problem identification and analysis


May 19th 2021: Problems and objectives, part 2

9.30-10.00 – Debriefing from the previous day

10.00-11.00 – Presentation of the World Heritage Site of Singapore Botanic Garden with Cheng Lee Yeong (Director of Programs, Festivals and Venue Management at Singapore Botanic Garden)

11.00-12.30 – Presentation of the initiative “Montagne Biellesi” by Slow Food Travel Nazarena Lanza, Project Manager at Fondazione Slow Food

14.00-16.00 Group work part 2: Objectives identification


May 20th 2021: Results, activities and good practices

9.30-10.30 Collective briefing & comments (each group will be asked to comment the other’s work in progress)

10.30-12.30 Group work part 3: definition of results and related activities Presentation of results and activities (one brief presentation per group)

14.00-16.00 Group work part 4: benchmarking and identification of good practices


May 21st 2021: Presenting the results

9.30-12.30 Group work part 5: feasibility questions Finalization of the PPT to present in the afternoon closing session (according to the provided guidelines)

14.00-16.00 Presentation of the 5 groups final works (10 minutes per group), structured as to include the main results of the previous days groupworks

Guest evaluators: Paola Borrione, President of Fondazione Santagata, and Enrico Bertacchini, Professor at University of Turin


Contributors and Resource persons: Alessio Vaccari, Oropa Botanical Garden WWF Oasis Maria Luisa Pedullà, Oropa Botanical Garden WWF Oasis Fabrizio Bottelli, Oropa Botanical Garden WWF Oasis Linda Angeli, Oropa Sanctuary Cheng Lee Yeong, Director of Programmes, Singapore Botanic Gardens Nazarena Lanza, Fondazione Slow Food Paola Borrione, Fondazione Santagata Giulia Avanza, Fondazione Santagata Erica Meneghin, Fondazione Santagata Enrico Bertacchini, University of Turin.