Image: Chris Montgomery (unspash)

A pilot project exploring strengths and challenges of heritage interpretation practice in the country.

Heritage interpretation is being increasingly recognised worldwide as a crucial practice for effective heritage management, sustainability and impact. However, in some countries, heritage management systems still struggle to fully integrate interpretation in the heritage work practice. An example is the Italian system, which shows a lack of national standards for interpretation, fragmentation of practices, and low awareness of interpretation. 

To tackle this issue, ICIP Italy (ICOMOS’ International Committee on Interpretation and Presentation) has joined forces with Interpret Europe’s Research Team and the Italian country team in this collaborative pilot research project, Interpreting Italy. The aim is to explore the complexity of heritage interpretation practices in Italy focusing on what types of interpretation activities are mainly carried out, what competences are involved, as well as the main challenges and needs of heritage interpretation in the country. To this purpose, the collaborative team has been running structured questionnaires targeting site managers in Italy from a varied sample of cultural and natural heritage sites. The goal is to capture both strengths and criticalities of interpretation in Italy, open a debate on the needs of interpretation in the country, and support policy-makers and institutions in developing strategies for the future. 

ICOMOS Italy ICIP Coordinator Sarah Court, IE Research Coordinator Carmen Granito and researcher Caterina De Vivo presented the preliminary results at the recent ICOMOS-ICIP Symposium on ‘Hot Topics in Heritage Interpretation’ (31 August 2023), a one-day conference dedicated to heritage interpretation as part of the ICOMOS General Assembly in Sydney. 

The project is currently at a pilot stage, but in the long term it ultimately aims to develop an agile research format applicable to other European countries. Thanks to the recent presentation, the team is making contact with others who have approached this challenge and would welcome any exchange with others who have carried out a similar national audit.

Team and contributions

Sarah Court, ICOMOS-ICIP coordinator for Italy: initiator of the project; coordinator
Vanessa Vaio, IE Country Coordinator Italy: initiator of the project; data collection
Carmen Granito, IE Research Coordinator: research method design, data collection and analysis
Caterina De Vivo, independent researcher: research method design, data collection and analysis
Antonio Cangelosi, independent researcher and IE Italian country team member: data collection

Carmen Granito is IE’s Research Coordinator. She can be contacted at:

To cite this article: Granito, Carmen (2023)Interpreting Italy‘ in Interpret Europe Newsletter 3-2023, pg. 17.
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