Open yes, but thanks to volunteers. Touring Club aims to expand Open for You.

The Italian Touring Club aims to expand its "Open for You" initiative, which since 2005 has guaranteed continuous openings of dozens of sites thanks to the employment of volunteers, and is therefore launching a campaign with solidarity text messages to donate funds.

Restarting culture? Yes, but thanks to volunteers: that’s what the Touring Club Italiano, the association that has been involved in tourism and cultural promotion since 1894, intends to further extend its Aperti per voi initiative, the project that allows dozens of sites throughout Italy to open their doors to the public thanks to the employment of thousands of volunteers who make the openings possible. At the moment, there are 82 sites spread over 33 cities in 13 regions, which since 2005, the first year of the initiative, have guaranteed an influx of 19 million visitors welcomed by more than 2,200 volunteers. In short: more than one million visitors a year.

These days (September 13 to 26), the Touring Club has again launched the Aperti per voi campaign to raise public awareness and spur them to donate funds (through a solidarity text message to the number 45590) in order to make the project possible. In addition, also during these two weeks, many of the “Aperti per voi” places will be accessible with special events and extraordinary openings. These are precious places: to give a few examples, included in the initiative are the Court Theater of the Reggia di Caserta, Palazzo Arese Borromeo in Cesano Maderno, the Basilica Palatina of Santa Barbara in Mantua, the church of the Carmine in Massa, the church of San Maurizio at the Monastero Maggiore, the church of San Fedele and the Grassi-Vismara Collection at the GAM in Milan, the Museo Diocesano in Padua, the basilica of San Michele Maggiore in Pavia, the Salone del Gotico in Piacenza, the Giardini Reali in Turin, and the Manin Chapel in Udine. All places that, without FAI volunteers, would open with hiccups or would likely remain closed.

“Investing in culture and in the realities of the third sector as pivotal points to take care of Italy as a common good and, therefore, to revive tourism as well,” says Franco Iseppi, president of the Italian Touring Club, “are part of the recipe to lift the country. Culture has always represented the first ingredient for the most important innovations capable of designing a better future.”

The funds raised will not be used to train specialized staff, but rather new volunteers, as well as to organize concerts, guided tours, exhibitions, meetings, and readings. Investing in culture is essential, but one part of the environment certainly does not like the fact of tying the opening of important sites to the availability of volunteers, even in the face of the significant numbers generated by the initiative. On the other hand, without volunteers, at least for the time being, many sites would remain closed, as the Touring Club points out. Will a balance be struck?

Photo: Milan, the church of Sant’Antonio Abate, one of the “Open for You” sites

Open yes, but thanks to volunteers. Touring Club aims to expand Open for You.
Open yes, but thanks to volunteers. Touring Club aims to expand Open for You.

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