Immagine: Castello di Bentivoglio - Castello dei Bentivoglio photo credits: |Fabio Bergon| - Wiki Love Monuments 2017

Emilia Romagna Castles

THE PROJECT

ITALY TOURISM PRODUCTS

"Circuit of the Castles of Emilia Romagna"

APT Servizi srl, in collaboration with the regional Ibacn and the Association of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, has drawn up a tourism promotion project that involves, first of all, mapping data on castles in the region, with particular reference to those with a touristic purpose. The aim of the collection is to obtain complete information to be published later in a site dedicated to the "Circuit of the Castles of Emilia Romagna" and to enhance those organized in particular circuits and that can also be presented at events organized annually in foreign markets. APT Servizi srl, in collaboration with the regional Ibacn and the Association of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza,
The Network Model APT Servizi has developed this project with the Castles of the Duchy in order to present the network "model" -implemented by them for over 20 years- understood as a useful tool that starts from the bottom with the involvement of some initial, main, actors of the territory - The goal of the project, pending the consolidation of the networks of relations with the Destinations, is that of the creation and promotion of a new transversal tourism product across the regional territory, networking for the first time the "Castles of Emilia Romagna."
The activity involving the circuits of castles in the Emilia-Romagna region linked to specific tourism themes and sector operators in the local tourism supply chain was developed throughout the year 2018, and will continue in 2019. combining the practical experience of being together with a common direction carried out by Castles of the Duchy together with APT Servizi ER.
CIRCUIT CONSTRUCTION The objective was the construction of the circuit and product NETWORK through the involvement of the castles and historic houses, as well as local stake holders, interested and possessing certain characteristics that make them make it marketable on the tourism market. In the planning of the activities have been involvements of the regional castles and fortresses which, through the Destinations, have given interest in participating.
The starting list was the one provided by IBC ER with the aim of going to make a choice of castles identifiable as tourist and which had tourist requirements such as: being strictly open to the public and can be visited at least two days a week; but the ultimate goal will be to make perception grow, awareness, will, and also the objectives and criticalities, in addition to the verification of the characteristics intrinsic features of these historic places to evaluate their actual usability as a "tourist-cultural product", and to be brought to the attention of potential interested parties in the appropriate forums, particularly on foreign markets.
The minimum characteristics required of the Castle are basic:
-starting with the relevant fact of openness to the public,
-of interest in developing a path to become a true tourism product with improving intent.
-understand needs, issues, strengths, target audience.
The project has revealed unexpected performances and an important interest from the castles and the Destinations themselves. The creation of the circuit carried out in 2019 reached 60 castles. The initiatives that have been implemented have led to the creation of a shared transversal project and which will be fully included in the programming of APT and regional DTs.
The turnout data of the initiatives carried out on the theme of open castles generated over 6.000 attendance only in the first weekend, as it proves that a regional concertation on this product can give important and unexpected results.
OFFERS AND PRODUCTS Short-term goal: development of specific original product lines dedicated to castles This part of the work was the most demanding because it was preparatory to the promotional activity that has developed accordingly:
Were made of video material dedicated to the regional castles. The association has helped to identify, together with Apt Servizi ER, those castles with an attractive value as a "tourist product" in Emilia-Romagna for the shooting of the promotional video "Emilia-Romagna Castles" created by the "Andrea Masoni" studio. In particular, a number of suggestions for improvement have been proposed for the optimization of the material. By way of example, it was requested that in the videos - alongside the planned shots - new scenes were added with food and wine images to connote the lands of the castles as places where food and wine is queen and that new scenes were added with images of activities and animations in the castles to make people understand how alive they are places to live experiences, historical re-enactments, creative workshops.
COMMUNICATION AND PROMOTIONAL MARKETING: Following the interest shown by DT Emilia and DT Romagna, the product of the "Open Castles" with the day of the "Open Castles" working to involve not only the Castles of Parma and Piacenza, also those of Reggio Emilia and some realities in the province of Modena, Bologna and in Romagna; assuming that the first edition of Open Castles could be an initial opportunity to raise awareness on the subject Castles, Fortresses, Stronghold on the net.
EVENT CONSTRUCTION: APT Servizi with the association presented the project activity and one of the various initiatives that the open days "Oh what a beautiful castle" were organized in 2018 and marketing activities and promotion of the project carried out in synergy with the communication and web strategy sector of APT. The Castles of the Duchy Association has highlighted how essential it is to be able to share a specification of common quality, and in particular a specification that defines the services to be offered to the potential tourist. Dialogue has therefore already begun with those castles and fortresses of the territory of the DTR that already offer services that comply with certain quality characteristics for the reception of the visitor from an optical point of view opening up to more distant markets, as per the objective of APT Servizi.
For joining the project, the mandatory methods of joining were explained, starting from registration to single platform for collecting data from the cones, with the objectives of:
- create a master data mapping
- identify the services of each structure
- insert updatable data
The first edition of the Open Castles of Emilia Romagna by preparing press releases dedicated to the initiative:
-"On Sunday 7 October there is "Oh what a beautiful castle" Manieri open throughout Emilia-Romagna"
-"Emilia Romagna celebrates "Oh what a beautiful castle" For the Immaculate Conception festivity 20 manors open with many events". "Guided tours in period costume or with the owner of the castle to relive the evocative atmosphere of a magical territory that offers unique emotions: with many appointments in the manors, fortresses and strongholds - dedicated to the enhancement and beauty of our unique castle heritage in Italy. Password: live a day that takes you back to the past from the Middle Ages to the Belle Époque for an extraordinary experience! "Oh what a beautiful castle, from imagination to reality: close your eyes and enter the most beautiful castles of Emilia-Romagna open for you...".
The objective of the first years of activity was in fact the creation of a motivated work group, able to operate for the increase of incoming and share a common path of regional tourism promotion, also in continuous collaboration with the Destinations, primarily DT Emilia. Various activities have been carried out promotions, (workshops, fairs or other moments of promotional-commercial contact) and collaborated for the preparation of press releases, news photos, technical data sheets, on the occasion of important organizational events for the "Circuit of the Castles of Emilia-Romagna".
With the DT Romagna which has included a project dedicated to fortresses in its programme ”Romagna Castle” included in the enhancement of the offer identified by the program promotional marketing as "Art and culture" and in particular in the theme "Villages and fortresses" of Romagna, a meeting was organized with the stakeholders of the Romagna area. This project represents one of the promotional initiatives focused on the development of new narratives, which start from strong and recognizable identity themes and suggestions at national and international level, around which it was intended to build the tourist products and the territories approach. The vast historical, artistic and cultural heritage of Romagna represents a fundamental asset of the promotion and marketing. The stories and art treasures guarded by villages and ancient houses are attractions such as to attract independent tourism. In fact, the hinterland tourist product can boast custodian realities of historical and artistic testimonies, narratives and flavors, landscapes, crafts and traditions such as to generate a fascinating and convincing tourist product, allowing a qualitative leap in commercial valorisation and tourism in the hinterland from Rimini to Ferrara, each with its own identity but a single soul.
Long-Term Goal: Construction of “Castle Valley” With the positive development of the project and the collaboration with the regional tourist DTs on the subject has now been activated, a meeting was held in Bologna, at the headquarters of Apt Servizi ER, with the staff of the Castles of the Duchy for discussion and a knowledge of the state of the art of the project. Also on this occasion it was shared to give value to attribute a fundamental value to the castles operating in circuits, starting from the practice of the association itself and other circuits virtuosos operating on the regional territory to share a promotion to those who demonstrate the ability to aggregate network-founding principle also of the law 4/2016. The goal was in fact to create a group of motivated work, able to operate to increase incoming and share a common path of promotion regional tourism, also in continuous collaboration with the Destinations, first of all DT Emilia and reaching the construction of a product such as the "Food Valley" or the "Motor Valley"