Local endogenous development
and urban regeneration of small alpine towns



Form 1 - Partner’s introduction

Name of the partner

Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia

Institutional role of the partner

The Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia (hereinafter simply called Region FVG) has complete general law-making, planning and administrative competence for all the economic and social sectors of the region except for foreign, defence and public safety affairs. Moreover it has limited competence concerning taxation.

The administrative capacity is, in actual fact, adequate for such extensive competence.

Name of the sector in charge of managing AlpCity

Direzione centrale delle risorse agricole, naturali e forestali Servizio per la Montagna.

Central Direction for Agricultural, Natural and Forestry Resources - Mountain Department.

EU-P8 Friuli Venezia Giulia

Role of the sector within the partner's administrative structure

The Mountain Department is responsible for enforcing and accomplishing European, domestic and local (regional) legislative and administrative measures or programmes concerning the social and economic development of the mountain areas of Friuli Venezia Giulia.

This is the reason why the Department deals with the implementation of many Community Programme Measures referred to mountain or rural territories such as, in particular, the ones included in the P.I.C. INTERREG III A (Italy - Austria and Italy - Slovenia cross-border co-operation ) and B (Alpine Space and Adriatic Cross-border) as well as in Objective 2 and in the Regional Development Plan for rural areas.

Finally, the Department plays the role of Paying Authority for the P.I.C. Leader Plus.

Partner's expected benefits from the participation to AlpCity

The benefits we hope to achieve participating in AlpCity are the following:

  • to support sustainable development for small/medium-size alpine villages;
  • to exchange experiences and good practices with Project Partners;
  • to implement local key cases that carry out innovative, transferable operative planning tools to be made available to the authorities of the alpine villages.

Indicate the WPs (5-8) in which the partner will undertake local case-projects (and if the partner is WP responsible)
  • WP 7 - Project case 3 "Urban Environment".
  • The Region FVG is responsible for the WP.

Organisational expectations from the participation to one or more specific WP8-8 (case-projects)

The Region FVG believes that a few rules could help the partners (and especially the responsible partner) to successfully manage the case project.

Granted that the responsible partner can only have the role of co-ordinator, the Region FVG's proposal for the case project management is the following:

  • The partner co-ordinator (Region FVG) is responsible for ensuring a constant flow of information on the progress of the case project and the key cases carried out by each partner involved (that is, Region FVG, Veneto Region, Piedmont Region and France-Comté) to the LP and the other PPs.
    This task requires a periodical exchange of information between the co-ordinator and the other partners involved in the WP which will be asked for a short three-monthly progress report to be sent, by e-mail, to the co-ordinator at his request (approximately, the reports should be scheduled for:
    September and December 2004;
    April, June, September and December 2005);
  • Thanks to the above-mentioned quarterly progress reports the co-ordinator will assemble, within two weeks from receipt, the general progress report referred to the WP to be distributed to all the project partnership;
  • Considering that the WP lasts nearly two years, the partners involved should hold six-monthly WP workshops which could take place at the same time as the PSG meetings, to be held approximately every six months.
    This modality would make it possible to both save money - thus avoiding having to organise supplementary meetings - and to immediately report eventual relevant issues to the whole partnership.
    According to the current project timetable the WP workshops should be held in December 2004, June 2005, and November 2005. Should it be necessary, a conclusive workshop could be organised by the co-ordinator before the final project conference scheduled in June 2006 (possibly in April or at the very beginning of May 2006) with the aim of discussing the results of the WP and how to present the work done at the final project conference.
    The WP workshops aim at exchanging experiences and discussing eventual problems. The co-ordinator will have to inform the SSC about the workshops' results.

Each partner will be asked to prepare and explain a report on the results of their key cases at the final conference, if the partner isn't able to attend the conference the co-ordinator will be responsible for the presentation.

Expectations from the work of AlpCity Scientific Steering activities
  • Evaluation of overall AlpCity coherence;
  • Assessment of project ideas;
  • Advice on AlpCity's communication strategy;
  • Help in collecting experiences and best practices in the partner and non-partner mountain areas;
  • Preparation of a general scientific conference;
  • Contribution to final report and guidelines;
  • Intermediate evaluation on progress;
  • Final evaluation of projects.

Form 2 - Description of the concerned territory (geographic and/or institutional areas)

Administrative areas within the region

The administrative bodies (given in order of importance, starting from the most important) within our region are the following:

The Region, four Provinces (Trieste, Udine, Gorizia and Pordenone) and various Municipalities. In the mountain areas there are four "Comunitŕ Montane" (Mountain Communities) and these are a kind of association between the various small municipalities situated within the specific areas represented by the Mountain Communities.
The Region has an overall law-making competence and carries out its own planning policies. The Province has competence, limited to its specific area, concerning minor planning issues and administrative tasks directly connected to it. The Municipality is responsible for services to its inhabitants.
The Mountain Community is an institution situated at a level between the Municipality and the Province and to which the Municipalities, that make it up, delegate parts of their competence that would be too costly for a single small Municipality.

Brief description of the mountain character within the whole partner's territory

Statistically, the regional mountain territory of 334,052 ha corresponds to 42,6% of the entire regional territory and includes 58 municipalities. (The hill area of 151,622 ha, corresponds to 19,3% and includes 50 municipalities, while the plains of 298,739 ha, correspond to 38,1%, and include 111 municipalities).

The mountain territory is considered to be a territory of average-altitude with the majority of the mountain peaks between 1,500-2,000 metres (only one is higher than 2,700 metres) and an average altitude of around 800/1000 metres, with a population of about 143,000 inhabitants.

From an administrative point of view, the mountain territory of the Region includes an area which is wider and is extended also to part of the hill territory thus including 87 municipalities and has a population of about 177,000 inhabitants, that is, 15.1% of the entire regional population with a population density of 40.9 inhabitants per sq. km distributed in an area of 4352.9 sq. km, that is, 55.49% of the entire regional population.

The territory is divided in four Mountain Communities (CM):

  • CM del Friuli Occidentale (Province of Pordenone)
  • CM della Carnia
  • CM del Gemonese, della Val Canale e del Canal del Ferro
  • CM delle Valli del Torre, del Cividalese e del Collio

(The last three are all in the Province of Udine).

All these areas suffer from a negative population growth and the progressive ageing of residents who tend to migrate towards the lower valley and plains where the job market and services offer more opportunities and a better quality of life. Such phenomena are particularly evident in Val Canale/Canal del Ferro, in Carnia and in Val D'Arzino which is an area in the Province of Pordenone.

Agriculture is still a traditional and fundamental component of the economic model of the mountains despite the fact that it is in constant decline and also involves the sector of zootechnology and animal breeding. Agriculture in the mountains is worsened by the phenomenon of fragmentation of properties which make it difficult for farms to reach a sufficient level of competitiveness.

The craftsmanship industry is strongly influenced by the physical conditions of the territory (altitude), by distance from the plains and the extent of accessibility. Such marginality is further worsened by the limited size of businesses as well as by local activities, because the negative population growth is an obstacle to the much needed generation change. There are, however, interesting examples of successful enterprises in the sector of woodwork, mechanics and metallurgy, traditional products, of textiles and construction, even though the last two are declining.

Finally, tourism, although in constant growth, is not a central element of mountain economy. The summer tourist season, considered to be the main season, does still not much differentiate services offered and is mainly family-oriented.

Winter tourism is limited to few locations with not much snow.

It has also been noticed that the approach is rather lacking towards the customer and if we exclude recent initiatives ("albergo diffuso") the level of accommodation capacity is average-low.

There are, however, considerable prospects tied to the natural environment and to environmental protection and parks that can well integrate with other projects concerning rural tourism.

Structure of the towns within the region

The regional territory is characterised by small towns, spread out, with a population of between 25,000 and 100,000 inhabitants (Udine, Pordenone, Gorizia, Monfalcone) and only one metropolitan area of about 220,000 inhabitants (Trieste). The remaining settlements have, for the most part, between 4,500 and less than 1,000 inhabitants and only two settlements with approximately 10,000 inhabitants (Tolmezzo and Maniago).

The economy is characterised by the passage from an agricultural model to industrial and craftsmanship SMEs. The immigration phenomenon is consistent, especially from eastern European countries and involves mainly the territory of the hills and the plains.

Services, despite growing requests, show a good degree of development.

Names of all administrative area/s involved in the case-projects
  • Val Canale - Canal del Ferro (with particular reference to the area of the Municipality of Tarvisio).
  • Valle del Tagliamento (with particular reference to the Municipality of Forni di Sopra).

Number of inhabitants in these areas
  • 6.300, approximately, in the first (five municipalities).
  • 10.500, approximately, in the second (six municipalities).

Specific issues on the structure of the towns in these mountain areas

The valley is easily accessible thanks to the existence of a motorway (and of a new provincial road) that connects Udine to Austria and to the rest of Europe, but due to the narrowness of the valley, this road has also caused minor settlements to be marginalised (with the exception of Tarvisio) because they have been excluded by the traffic flows.
The building heritage is characterised by a mixture of buildings of historical or architectural value and modern buildings particularly diffused in the Tarvisio and Pontebba areas due to the presence of dismantled military structures and other structures connected to the commercial and customs activities tied to the old borders with Austria and Slovenia and at present not utilised or undergoing dismantlement.
The urban structure of the valley is characterised by small rural villages with the exception of Tarvisio (5,000 inhabitants) which is a well-developed town thanks to the development of business traffic with neighbouring Austria and Slovenia and a fairly good development in the field of tourism.

The valley has rather difficult access (a single provincial road), but this has made it possible to protect the natural environment which is this area's greatest asset. Here too, the building heritage is of a mixed type with modern buildings used as homes or for tourism that contrast with the more traditional buildings with architectural value for which the State and the Region have started some support measures for their recovery.
The whole urban structure of the valley is made up of small towns, that are mainly agricultural, with the exception of Forni di Sopra which has developed tourism (two seasons a year) exploiting the Dolomites which start here and extend into the Province of Belluno (Veneto Region).

In both valleys there are all the difficulties typical of the regional mountain territory (depopulation, ageing of the population, economic and productive decline, lack of services) that, with only the partial exceptions of Tarvisio and Forni di Sopra, noticeably afflict all the settlements in the valleys.

Economic characteristics of these towns (Regional, international or local functions)

As described also at the previous point, the economy of the two areas is in great difficulty.

Forestry, cultivated woodlands, zootechnical and agricultural activities are declining, while tourism shows interesting signs of development only in the areas of Tarvisio and in the Municipality of Forni di Sopra. Business activities are good in the Tarvisio area, while the production of glasses which has been, in these last years, a promisin

An international role can be partially claimed by Forni di Sopra, a location where sport teams from Austria go for their summer training; it is also visited by a certain number of international tourists (Austrian, Slovene, English and from eastern countries) and perhaps, more so, by Tarvisio - always in the tourist, sports and business sectors - seat of the recent "Universiadi" also, or above all, thanks to its particular geographic position which places it near where the three ex borders (Italy, Austria and Slovenia) join.
This has furthermore led to it to submit its candidature together with Klagenfurt (Austria) and Kraniska Gora (Slovenia), for the Winter Olympic Games called "of the three borders" which has, for the time being, been rejected.

Social image of the mountains within the region

The mountain territory, even though it is perceived as a declining area that also risks becoming a marginal area, has, however, a strong social and ethnical identity which is also, at the same time, both its strong point (sense of belonging and strong tie to places) and its weak point (political division and social/economic competition) between the various ethnical and valley groups which has not, for the most, turned into a competitive factor for development, but has remained a way of contrasting collaboration and alliances that has slowed down and, in part, compromised the development of the mountain areas.

The great environmental value, the still relatively intact territory and some signals of a renewed attachment of the younger residents to their territories of origin, together with a declared commitment of the regional public bodies in favour of the mountains, seem to have slowed down, if not stopped, the negative trend of population growth as well as of depopulation and could represent potentialities on which to act in order to attempt an inversion, especially in the tourist sector and in that of activities tied to leisure, but also in some productive activities of the food/fruit and vegetable and traditional craftsmanship.
The industrial and productive kind of activities, also because of structural reasons connected with the situation of the mountains and to the lack of an integrated transport system (almost complete lack of a railway system, lack of a road system) seem, on the other hand, to be destined to a small number of successful niche initiatives, but with a limited impact on the entire economy of the regional mountain area.

Policies for the mountain

The Regional Law ("Legge Regionale" - L.R.) n.10 /1997 in respect of the National Law n.97 of 31 January 1994, known as "New provisions for the mountain areas", which summarises the pre-existing regional legal provisions for the mountains and introduces as art. 4 the Regional Fund for the Development of Mountain Territories ("Fondo Regionale per lo sviluppo della montagna").

The Regional Law n.33 of 20 Decembre 2002 called "Creation of Mountain Districts of Friuli Venezia Giulia" ("Istituzione dei Comprensori Montani del Friuli Venezia Giulia") has removed and substituted Regional Law n.10/97 and represents the main regional legislative provision for the Mountain Territory.

The Regional Fund for the Development of Mountain Territories is the "container" of the financial resources necessary for carrying out the Regional Plan for the Development of the Mountain Territories, foreseen by art.19 of Regional Law n. 33/2002, and is made up of regional and state resources, the latter derive from the National Fund for Mountain Territories mentioned in art.2 of Regional Law n.97/1994.

The Mountain Districts have now been re-named Mountain Communities as previously listed. They are the main tools for implementing support measures in favour of the mountain territories as established by the regional budget.

A part of the Fund's resources are bound by law to finance the following operations:

  • Financing mountain municipalities with less than 5,000 inhabitants for implementing services of differentiated local transport;
  • Contributions to the International Research Centre for Mountain Territories (CIRMONT) of Amaro;
  • Contributions to teachers who transfer their residence to mountain municipalities in which they work.

The remaining resources, that can be used without limits in destination of expenditure, are annually assigned to the Mountain Communities and to the Provinces of Trieste and Gorizia (that carry out the same functions for the mountain territory within their areas of competence, but that, because of their characteristics and the limited area they cover, they do not require the prevision of a specific intermediate body necessary for the much wider areas of competence of the Mountain Communities).

These resources are assigned as follows:

  • 50% according to the proportion of the resident population, to the surface and number of Municipalities and population centres included in the socially/economically disadvantaged C zone - as according to art.21 of Regional Law n.33/2002 (the mountain territory has been divided into three homogenous zones A, B and C with an increasing social/economic disadvantage as according to art.3 of Regional Law n. 13/2000). With such resources the Mountain Communities and Provinces define their plans for support measures that are complementary to the Regional ones;
  • 50% according to what has been foreseen by the Regional Mountain Development Plan in favour of the three socially/economically disadvantaged A, B and C zones.

Art.6, paragraphs 204, 205 e 206, of Regional Law n.2, of 22 February 2000, envisages granting of contributions to mountain municipalities that join the Network of Municipalities called "Alliance in the Alps" created among local European bodies with the aim of assimilating the contents of the Convention in the Alps.

Finally the Region FVG promotes support measures that are co-financed by the E.U. specifically in favour of the territory such as:

  • FRENESYS "Action e-Health";
  • Leader+;
  • Objective 2 specific measures for mountain territories;
  • Development Plan for Rural Areas 2000-2006 - Measures (1 and 2) Support for tourist and craftmanship activities in disadvantaged areas;
  • Development Plan for Rural Areas 2000-2006 - Measure M: "Marketing of Quality Agricultural Products" - Sub-measure M, Action 2: "Marketing of Local Products in Mountain Territories";
  • CIP INTERREG III A (Italy - Austria and Italy - Slovenia cross-border international co-operation);
  • CIP INTERREG III B "Alpine Space", "Adriatic Cross-border International Co-operation", and "Cadses";

As far as the political approach is concerned, Art.3 of Regional Law n.33/2002 envisages the creation of the Permanent Conference for the Mountains which gives opinions on the development policies for the mountain territories with the aim of maintaining a common and coherent design for these policies.

It can also be a seat for the creation and drawing up of agreements between subjects represented within it.

The Conference is made up of : the President of the Region and the Regional Councillors for the Mountain Territories, Finances, Local Bodies, Planning; the Presidents of the Provinces, of the Mountain Communities, of the Agency for the Development of Mountain Territories (body with a majority regional interest) and a representative for each homogenous mountain zone A, B and C).

According to the items on the agenda the participation of only public or private representatives who are connected to the social, economic, cultural and linguistic situations of the regional mountain territories.