The diaspora as a resource for knowledge, preservation and enhancement of the lesser known cultural sites in Albania

24/02/2021 | Florence

Facing increasing problems from emigration, Albania is trying to stop the depopulation of rural areas. As Italy is one of the main migration destinations for Albanians, Italy and Albania now work hand in hand in raising recognition and for value for Albanian cultural heritage.

The international research project “The diaspora as a resource for knowledge, preservation and enhancement of the lesser known cultural sites in Albania” was conducted by University of Florence’s Department of Architecture and the Florence Accessibility Lab on the Italian side and the Catholic University Our Lady of the Good Counsel Tirana on the Albanian side, under the lead of scientific research manager Antonio Laurìa and his core team, Leonardo Chiesi, Pietro Matracchi, and Ugo Tonietti.

With the goal of reconstructing traditions and rediscovering cultural riches, students, young professionals and researchers coming from the Albanian diaspora who were trained in the University of Florence transferred their knowledge in protection and enhancement of cultural heritage back to Albania. The project produced opportunities for Albanian students to rediscover their cultural heritage and attach new value to them and transfer this knowledge into an economic perspective in their home country. The results of the research project are published in Five Albanian Villages, Guidelines for a Sustainable Tourism Development through the Enhancement of the Cultural Heritage by Firenze University Press. The five Albanian villages studied were Bënjë, Kosinë and Lëuse in the municipality of Përmë, Zvërnec, a coastal village in the municipality of Valona, and Razëm, a mountain village from the Albanian Alps.

This collaborative Italian-Albanian research was highly recognised in Albania and seconded by the exhibition “Through the Eyes of the Diaspora” in Tirana in December 2020, which was attended by Albanian President Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama and Minister for the Diaspora of Albania Pandelj Maiko.

If you want to read more about the project and the full interview with Antonio Lauria please go to the website of the University of Florence: