ESPO award 2022: Let us present the shortlisted projects: ADRIJO NETWORK - Adriatic Ports Cultural Network

04 November 2022

The ESPO Award 2022 will go to the port managing body which has developed a series of initiatives and/or a strategy in collaboration with the different stakeholders and the city to enhance the maritime passenger links and the connectivity within the city or with other cities and regions of Europe, be it for its own citizens or for allowing visitors from all over the world to visit and discover the city and bring added value to the local community. The role of the port in enhancing the connectivity through a smooth and friendly passage through the port in and out of the city, as well as efforts of the port to give visitors a first good impression of the city or region are important criteria. Environmental and social sustainability of the project or strategy will be a prerequisite for winning the ESPO Award 2022.

The four projects that are shortlisted for this year’s Award are the projects of ports of Ceuta (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Tallinn (Estonia) and the cooperation project of the ports of Ancona, Ravenna, Venice, Trieste, Rijeka, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik (Italy and Croatia).

ESPO is proud to present the shortlisted projects before the winner is announced during the traditional ESPO Award Ceremony and Dinner taking place on 8 November in Brussels. We now present the project of the ADRIJO Network.

ADRIJO Network 

Adriatic Ports Cultural Network

Congratulations! You have been shortlisted for the ESPO Award 2022! Could you briefly describe your project?

The ADRIJO- Adriatic Ports Cultural Network is established through the signature of a dedicated Memorandum of Understanding on 31st May 2019 in the framework of REMEMBER project (funded by Italy-Croatia Programme), with the main aim to make ports more attractive and worthy to be visited not only by passengers and tourists but also by people that are living in the surrounding areas, thus addressing different target groups and strengthening port-cities relationship. The network realized its own platform in 2022, representing in one single website the virtual museums of the eight main passengers port in the Adriatic Sea (Venice, Trieste, Rijeka, Ravenna, Zadar, Ancona, Split, and Dubrovnik), aiming at:

  • Increasing the connection among ports and local communities, by giving evidence of the role of ports in building the identity, know-how and traditions of local communities in port cities. This has also a positive feedback on port- city relations, as local communities can enjoy the innovative cultural offer provided through digitalized contents and preserved maritime heritage, having a better knowledge on maritime identity and on the port itself, as a place to experience, live and work, in synergy with local communities.
  • Setting up a joint tool to promote the cultural heritage of ports, tangible and intangible, as an additional instrument to welcome port passengers and users. ADRIJO has contributed to qualify the accessibility of port areas, creating wayfinding paths and permanent installations to valorise the maritime heritage and mix it with innovative digitalized contents, activating synergies and cooperations with scientific and local institutions to jointly preserve and promote maritime heritage for a virtuous sustainable approach to territorial development.

ADRIJO is derived from the combination of the Italian word ADRIATICO and the Croatian JADRANSKO to indicate the Adriatic Sea, so the platform’s name reflects the intention to give in a word the perception of the ties and links connecting different cultural identities along the two shores of the Adriatic Sea.

How has your project contributed to enhancing the city connectivity with regards to maritime passenger transport? Could you tell us more? How does your project contribute to bringing added value to the local community?

The ADRIJO Network enhances the connectivity between the eight Adriatic ports and cities by setting up an innovative multimedia digital platform available in English, Italian and Croatian to improve the experience of passengers and visitors calling the involved ports. Ports become part of the destination and the ADRIJO platform give evidence of the cultural, traditional and contemporary links between these ports and cities, resulting in an enhanced quality of services. To do so, the platform has three layers: the first one in the homepage introduces the visitor to the Adriatic as a place with different cultures, languages and communities, but common roots. Ports and the port cities are the place where traffics, people and know-hows of the two shores get in touch and create innovation and enrichment. “The Adriatic is a constellation of stories”, says Franco Farinelli, testimonial of ADRIJO Network. The second layer gives the opportunity to visit the ADRIJO platform through three thematic paths: traditions and culture, stories and heritage, bearing witness to the intrinsic common features that join the Adriatic port cities. The third layer is made of the eight virtual museums of Ancona, Ravenna, Venice, Trieste, Rijeka, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik ports, available in one single platform. With more than 150 digital contents grouped into three different categories (heritage, tradition and culture, stories), the platform offers a wide range of possibilities for passengers, tourists and citizens to explore the Adriatic maritime dimension and its past and present relevance, combining the cross-border scope with the promotion of local port and city culture. In fact, the multimedia contents available on propose different experiences not limited to ports, but extended also to cities, underlying the strict connection between the ports and their communities. In addition, ADRIJO contributes to enhance the accessibility of port areas through wayfinding paths and permanent installations that allow maritime passengers, tourists and citizens to discover the heritage of ports with innovative digitalized contents, creating a virtuous sustainable approach for territorial development, in cooperation with local administrations.

This has also positive feedback on port-city relations, as local communities can enjoy the innovative cultural offer provided through multimedia contents, virtual tours and digital twinning of monuments and heritage, having better knowledge of traditions and contemporary port activities. The port becomes the place to experience, live and work, in synergy with local communities.

Could you describe the original and innovative character of your project?

The original character of ADRIJO consists in its transnational value, being the Network composed by eight ports (Venice, Trieste, Rijeka, Ravenna, Zadar, Ancona, Split, and Dubrovnik) of two different European countries, having in passengers transport one of their main assets. The platform is an innovative instrument to present in a new and contemporary way the role of ports as gateways to discover local territories, in a constant synergic dialogue with the local communities as well as with the Adriatic ports.

Browsing through the ADRIJO platform, visitors are inspired on alternative cultural and touristic destinations around the Adriatic Sea and, at the same time, they are guided in the planning of their next journey. ADRIJO network targets also the local communities of the involved ports who can discover the links and common roots of the traditions, cultural references and life-styles with the other Adriatic ports. Thanks to ADRIJO, ports are going beyond their natural mission as maritime infrastructure and logistics hubs to become leverage to stimulate the social, cultural, and economic development of related territories, generating new opportunities to create sustainable touristic approaches, reinforcing port-city relations and connections, by enriching the understanding and knowledge of the visited place or the place citizens live in. Indeed, the use of digital technologies to preserve and promote maritime tangible and intangible heritage has increased the attractiveness and improved the accessibility, fruition and knowledge of ports, targeting a wider range of users from different countries, ages, backgrounds and including disable visitors. Each of the eight ports of the ADRIJO network populated the platform with videos, audio clips, 3D models, drone panoramas, photos, texts on port culture, producing more than 150 contents that are taken also from the surrounding city: a tangible evidence that also ports consider the city part of their own system of values, culture and identity.

Why do you think your project deserves to win the ESPO Award 2022?

Using the words of Franco Farinelli, testimonial of the ADRIJO network “…ports and port cities, especially in Adriatic, are a connector, that guarantees the continuity between land and sea. All Adriatic cities with an harbour built the basis of their subsequent activities around the port.” In this sense, the ADRIJO platform and network contribute to increasing the connectivity among Adriatic shores by presenting them as a network of destinations, where passengers can experience maritime identity in different and innovative ways thanks to the use of digital technologies, anticipating their trip within their journey. In particular, ADRIJO platform and network contribute to bridging the social gap between ports activities and local communities, involving the citizens to explore the port history, culture and the social and economic links between port and city that characterize everyday’s life still today. Thanks to ADRIJO, ports reinforce their role as a gateway for passengers and freight transit, presenting themselves also as cultural hubs, narrating their maritime routes, preserving their heritage, showing the modern and skilled profession that animate a contemporary port, promoting gastronomy and sailing traditions, using different languages and perspectives that encourage local people to feel part of the port and visiting people to know more about the port to experience what port life is. Finally, the ADRIJO platform architecture is ready to be expanded to other ports: we are an open network!

“Adrijo platform connects the network of our ports showing common aspects in different traditions and cultures. It welcomes international passengers, by also highlighting the identity of local communities.”

Vincenzo Garofalo, President of the Central Adriatic Ports Authority

With the support of:

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