Ecomuseo delle Case di Terra Villa Ficana


Ecomuseo delle Case di Terra Villa Ficana

Case Study Contents

1. Ecomuseum Data

Ecomuseum Name

Ecomuseo delle Case di Terra Villa Ficana

Date of Creation



Borgo Santa Croce 87, 62100, Macerata (MC) Italy


+39 0733/470761

1.1. Description of the Ecomuseum

The ecomuseum supports school programs, consolidates and enhances local identity, organizes collections-collections, promotes heritage on-site, manages heritage to promote local development, protects and interprets heritage, supports community economic activities, offers activities , organizes exhibitions, promotes human rights and social inclusion, promotes tourism, addresses the local, national and international challenges of society.

It enhances the territory, the local culture and the architectural heritage in raw ground.

It manages – within an international network (International Association “Città della terra cruda” – Raw Ground Town) – a real and virtual documentation center on raw ground architecture. The Ecomuseum is a place of study, sharing and enhancement of the local heritage; it also promotes the contemporary and future use of raw technology in a sustainable way.

1.2. Members of the Ecomuseum

Name of the person in charge

Martina Fermani

+39 0733/470761
Number of ecomuseum team members

Martina Fermani – Coordinator – Artistic high school certificate, Responsible for the educational offer of the Ecomuseum
Anna paola Conti – Scientific Director of the Ecomuseum – Architect and member of the Scientific Technical Committee of the International Association Città della terra cruda


The ecomuseums carried out cultural and social activities, and worked on-site in the purely technical field. The work carried out in the field of raw ground architecture and the synergy with the “Città della terra cruda” International Association allowed the Ecomuseum to relate to a national and international audience of interested people and technicians who consider it a point of reference. With regard to the specific technological sector.

The ecomuseum also promotes:

  1. the enhancement of the territory and the tangible and intangible heritage through the project of cultural, urban and social regeneration, integration and intergenerational dialogue
  2. the creation of the physical and virtual documentation center on raw construction techniques;
  3. the creation of the intangible assets archive through the “Tell me about your traditions” project;
  4. learning paths for the population through guided tours and workshops on architectural heritage, construction techniques, history and local heritage;
  5. dissemination of good practices and correct lifestyles through innovative challenges in the field of sustainable development;
  6. participation in European projects with a view to inclusion and multiculturalism;
  7. training aimed at professionals and technicians in the construction sector.

Some Examples of Training offered by the Ecomuseum

European Voluntary Service at Villa Ficana
European Solidarity Corps on-site
The objectives of the project are to spread European volunteering in the Macerata context as a powerful tool for personal growth and awareness of citizenship in cultural meeting / exchanging and respecting the environment; to promote the village of ground, as a historical testimony and an example of the union between tradition and sustainable architecture.
The project foresees that the volunteers are engaged in:
  • Implementation of educational activities aimed at schools and groups interested in specific themes at the Ecomuseum (revitalization of local traditions such as food, weaving, history, art, local vernacular, etc.)
  • Support to the staff in the organization of workshops on traditional raw ground construction techniques and on cultural events organized in the village;
  • Preparation of environmental education lessons in English, French and Spanish which will then be carried out by the volunteers themselves in some city high schools and universities.
In the final phase of the service, volunteers have the opportunity to design and develop a "personal project" according to their interests and attitudes, to be included in the activities of the Ecomuseum.
At the end of their stay in Italy they will have known a language and will have inserted themselves into the social reality of the village and the town.
The activities that the volunteers will carry out are no-profit and for the benefit of the local community, where they will integrate and live for a period of time.
The project involves 6 European volunteers for a period of 11/12 months who are hosted in some raw ground houses in the village of Ficana used as guesthouses.

The context will be non-formal and intercultural.

Volunteers, through the principles of non-formal learning, will have the opportunity to learn how a non-profit organization works. They will know the dynamics of participatory processes and active citizenship, the principles and practices of green building and environmental education.

Universal Civil Service at Villa Ficana on-site

The project aims to enhance the history, culture, construction traditions and building heritage of the Villa Ficana district in the Municipality of Macerata, today the Ecomuseum of Villa Ficana raw ground houses. To intervene on a cultural level to affirm the historical documentary value that the village represents, also about an architectural and building point of view.

The work of volunteers is essential to re-evaluate and promote the role of the Villa Ficana Ecomuseum at a tourism, urban and social level.

The idea of the project is to act on the hamlet, working on the concept of sustainability, cultural and tourist promotion.

The purpose is to highlight the details of the neighborhood so as to attract tourists, practitioners, students, young volunteers, citizens and anyone who got interested in the arguments proposed.

The contest won’t be formal and intercultural.

The volunteers, through non-formal principles learning, will have the opportunity to learn how it works as an organisation non-profit.

they will learn the dynamics of participatory processes and active citizenship, standards and green building practice and environmental education.

Educational activities on-siteEducation on the land and local historyPrimary and secondary school
Events on-siteEducation on the patrimony localCitizens, tourists
Mediterranean Exchange of Archaeological Tourism - Paestum - 15/18 November 2018 workshopWith the project “Re-inhabiting the land“. the Ecomuseum participated and won the Call for “Living Heritage” competition awarded by the European University Center for Cultural Heritage of Ravello (2018)Member of museum, Ecomuseum and cultural institute.Visitors
Training course for facilitators - - Ecomuseum of Salt and Sea of Cervia - 01/03/2018 workshopThe Ecomuseum recognized own experiences in the “Cours of Formations for ecomuseum-facilitators of Cervia”Ecomuseum-facilitatorsCitizens

Some Examples of Training Needs Identified

Participatory management and planning on-siteDevelopment of tools and methods for the involvement and active participation of inhabitants, citizens, tourists.Courses taught by experienced professionals (online / presence) training, continuing education;
Exchange of experiences with other ecomuseums
Education ecomuseum on-siteApproach to the specific theme; adaptation of the concept of museum education to the concept of ecomuseum.
Method innovation
Didactic approach to museum education with experts;
Help material, Online course, online training (f.e. webinar, tutorial, video), through seminar / short training, continuing education, expert assistance in the development of new projects)
Exchange of experiences with other ecomuseums
Strategies of communication for the promotion Ecomuseum on-siteDevelopment of digital and no-digital communication methods for the promotion of activities and the Ecomuseum itselfGuide material, Online course, online training (f.e. Webinar, tutorial, video), through seminar / short training, continuous training, expert assistance in the development of new projects;
Exchange of experiences with other ecomuseums
technologies’ solutions for inclusion virtual. workshop and virtualInnovative methodologiesGuide material. online courses ( i.e. Webinar, tutorials, videos) through seminary/short formation, continuing formation, professional assistants for the developers for new projects.
Exchange of experiences with other ecomuseums

3. Funding and Resources

Type of entity
Public with private management entrusted with public tender for 15 years to a group of associations
Official status
In process of recognition
Annual budget
Approximately € 35,000, spent for 1 part-time employee, utilities, website, consumables.

Participation in European Voluntary Service projects on-site (European Solidarity Corps) allowed the creation of the Ecomuseum and its economic maintenance, since it is financed with part of the funds intended for the hospitality of European volunteers.

Additional funding for the activities is recovered through the participation of the associations that manage the Ecomuseum in regional and national tenders.

The International Association “Città della terra cruda” contributes with funding dedicated to individual projects.

Another form of financing takes place through the organization of workshops and internal educational activities, as well as from visitors’ offers for gadgets made by the Ecomuseum’s volunteers.

4. Social and Community Participation

Ficana started in the mid-1800s as a rural village inhabited by marginalized people and accompanied by a bad reputation. In the 70s of the XX century it was decided to demolish it to make place for modern condominiums. The operation does not go on because of economic reasons; instead a grassroots movement is started that wants to promote its protection. The most effective work is carried out by a primary school that in the mid-90s adhered to the national project “The school adopts a monument”, choosing Ficana as an heritage to protect. The work of the children, supported by their families, allows the village to rediscover the potential of the neighborhood, activating a virtuous mechanism that reaches the Administrator.

The result is the affixing of the restriction by the Sopraintendenza (a statal office about the heritage), the drafting of the Recovery Plan and the restoration of half of the houses, carried out by the Municipality also thanks to European funds. A few years ago, the inhabitants returned: today we are witnessing the rebirth of the community and the social ties between the people. To facilitate this rebirth, the Ecomuseum promotes moments of sharing and involvement, such as interviews with historical inhabitants to collect their memories, or the display of artifacts resulting from personal creativity. A photographic project is underway that tells the inhabitants and their life in such special spaces as those of Ficana.

4.1. Local Population

Number of inhabitants of the territory/locality where the ecomuseum is located
The village is inhabited by about 160 people
Number of members of the local population involved in the ecomuseum
about 20/25 people

Ways of participation

The dialogue with the neighborhood’s people is the most important historical memory, because there are very few written testimonies about the life of Ficana. For the drafting of community maps and cultural itineraries, the methodology chosen for the research was that of the story: a first cognitive approach with the inhabitants of the village and the neighborhood was followed by a further meeting for the audio / video recording and for the collection of the material; the people interviewed were collaborative and happy to help in this project, and the volunteers – divided into working groups on different themes (recipes, places, folklore, history etc.) worked to create a useful product for the whole community. This activity is also accompanied by meetings with other subjects who share the aims of the ecomuseum and who are depositories in particular of other aspects of memory, such as food, popular traditions, music, etc.

4.2. Social milieu

Number of visitors from the territory/locality where the ecomuseum is located
It was not measurable
Number of foreign visitors
It was not measurable

Forms of involvement

The number of visitors in the first 5 years of the Ecomuseum’s life (2016/2021) who participated in events, guided tours, workshops is estimated to be around 11,000. In fact, it is not possible to accurately count the number of people as the Ecomuseum does not provide an entrance ticket; it is also a village with free access which therefore allows independent visits.

To increase tourist participation, the Villa Ficana Ecomuseum has activated the following projects:

  1. Audio guides in Italian and other languages, available on the free izi.Travel platform that allow you to visit the village independently
  2. Braille guide, a permanent tool to support visually impaired and blind visitors.
  3. The paper guide of the Ecomuseum (in Italian and English) is being published and will be available free of charge at the bookshop of our Visitor Center (the guide will be created in collaboration with the Municipality of Macerata thanks to the participation of the latter in a Regional call)
  4. Guided tours of the neighborhood and on specific themes, included in the cultural proposal of the town of Macerata
  5. Cultural walks with tastings of typical products through which the tourist discovers the territory, motivating and activating collaboration with local producers
  6. Specific activities for families and children
  7. Promotion of the Ecomuseum through the dissemination of information material at the receptive place of the town.
  8. Participation in the project “THE YOUNG SHRIMP – An innovative project of online resources” by the National Association of Small Museums of which the Ecomuseum is a member

4.3. Website analisis

Type of intervention made possible by the website

Only information Chance to suggest actions Complaints or Compliments Purchase of tickets Open access or under registration

Kinds of suggestions available

Proposing museum objectives On funding issues About museum planning On accessibility

Quality of Feedback

Receipt message is sent The proposal is discussed at the museum management level Results of the discussion are sent

The Ecomuseum has an attractive website that is optimized for mobile devices.

The web site provides the information necessary to do extensive research on raw ground and related construction techniques, both historical and current; it is also possible to benefit from the skills and to access the archives of the institutional partners through specific links.

International City of Raw Earth

Ced Terra

There are constantly updated photo galleries and a direct link to the youtube channel which offers cultural, technical, anthropological, historical material

The web site therefore offers an overview of the Villa Ficana Ecomuseum project, the history of the village and of the activities that are organized.

5. Innovation and Research

A research, still in progress, has been started on the old inhabitants and on the historical work in Ficana village and the neighborhood of the Ecomuseum, to promote the participation of the inhabitants, and to know and share even more information on the history and experiences of the village. This also permitted a first contact with the Marche Emigration Museum for a further stage of historical research.

The inventory of the objects in the museum house has been created and it is constantly updated. It consists of technical data sheets with historical information, origin and use of each individual tool.

Innovation for us is being able to transmit information and knowledge on the use of materials and construction techniques to be used for a more sustainable and green building.

The Ecomuseum offers training courses, cycles of conferences and exhibitions focused on raw ground, which offer training credits for the participating technicians.

The continuous internal training realized for the Italian and European volunteers, allows participants to obtain knowledge on raw ground, also making it possible to identify this construction technique in their territories and to disseminate the issues addressed.

A scientific collaboration agreement has been started with the University of Macerata – Department of Educational Sciences, Cultural Heritage and Tourism, in order to provide undergraduates and doctoral students with a range of research on the enhancement of tangible and intangible heritage and on the community of the Ecomuseum of the Houses of Terra Villa Ficana.

About scientific collaborations, international exchanges are being initiated with other Italian and foreign ecomuseums, focused on specific themes such as: ecomuseum, art, tangible and intangible heritage, economic and environmental sustainability.

The institutional partnership with the International Association Città della Terra cruda allows us to be included in national and international projects of which the same association is a partner.

6. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

SDG-related projects/actions

Valuation of the traditional system in unfired earth and to know its potentiality for a better effort. On-siteRe-evaluation of the qualities of the ground material aimed at its insertion in modern buildings.Good health and well-beingWe think that Ecomuseum can be a tool to discover or learn some sustainability objectives and sharing through their activities and good practices.
Education to cultural patrimony. On-siteThe knowledge of local cultural patrimony is an important system of social justice and civic education.Quality education
Sharing experiences and the life of inhabitants, volunteers and Italian citizens. OnsiteThe contamination of ideas and culture has an improvement of the society finalization for the acceptance of the other.Reduction of inequalities
Promotion of sustainability and natural methods. On-siteThe knowledge of sustainable construction techniques can help citizens to consciously choose the quality of their home and the community in which they live.Sustainable cities and communities
sostenibality’s economyThe development of a local 0 km economy, in collaboration with local producers, and knowledge of the production chains for conscious, healthy and right lifestyle choices for everybody.Responsible consumption production

Following the recognition of the cultural value of Ficana, the Ecomuseum realized a Documentation Center and was a place of reference for all those who, nationally and internationally, deal with row ground architecture and sustainable architecture. Thanks also to this a landscape constraint was affixed on the village. The ecomuseum takes strength and vitality thanks also to the attention shown for the issues in the building, in sustainable development in energy saving sectors,

The ecomuseums studied the physical structure of the buildings both for their restoration and for the analysis of a historical technology that has been abandoned for decades, as well as for the use in new buildings.

This is an example of good practices, not only on an architectural level but also on a social, territorial and economic level. The regeneration of places avoids unnecessary consumption of the territory. The ecomuseum promoted the use of local, biological products, with a short supply chain, and facilitated the knowledge of local producers, who were invited to talk about their work and are caring for the cultural landscape in which they operate.

Among the active good practices there is the cooperation with schools to assist teachers in a way that constantly emphasizes attention to energy saving, health, respect for the environment and knowledge of the potential of the area.

7. COVID-19

During the pandemic, the Ecomuseum was partially closed to visitors, but the volunteers continued their research and promotion in a remote way, learning and experimenting with new communication methods and making the most of the use of the social platforms Facebook and Instagram. Photo contests, activities for children, video stories on key themes in the history of the village were proposed, expanded and modified to be usable online.

The closure of the visitor center to the public and the consequent suspension of the guided visits induced the ecomuseum to think about different ways of visiting the village. After the pandemic lockdown visitors were able to walk through the streets accompanied by an audio / video guide specially created and made recognizable by the choice of color of the panels positioned in the streets. The pink color, in strong contrast with the natural colors of the place, was chosen precisely to be immediately noticed . A new tour was made and the closed places due to the pandemic (museum house / mural room) were accessible thanks to short videos through the free application izi.Travel.

Around the village

home museum

the grass trampled

meet & speak-conversation in language with volunteers

villa Ficana participles to the national initiative “Little teller stories museums” and the video

The “face to face” teaching was suspended, but thanks to the availability of some teachers, we were able to reach primary school classes through specially made short stories (some with audio, others with color images). This maintained the relationship alive and promoted a new educational offer (2021/2022), structured with theatrical visits, animated readings, etc.

Advent Calendar 2020

Ecomuseum to color

The training activities and workshops were suspended due to the low effectiveness of the audiovisual medium in that period full of online meetings and conferences.


Lisa Pigozzi, Nunzia Borrelli, Raul dal Santo, Silvia Dossena, Lucia Vignati

Scientific Coordinators

Leandro França, Barbara Kazior, Óscar Navajas, Manuel Parodi-Álvarez, Lisa Pigozzi, Raul dal Santo, Julio Seoane, Maristela Simão