An Ecomuseum differs from a traditional museum as the space is not restricted to a building where objects are kept, but rather to an entire territory.

The territory is understood as a system of values and bonds produced by a single, specific and unique history, formed by set of environmental and cultural, tangible and intangible goods.

In a word, an Ecomuseum is the cultural heritage of that territory: it is the most genuine and effective way to tell the story of the life, the customs, and the society of a people and of the bond between man and the land.

The people taking part in an Ecomuseum are first and foremost the people who live there. Before becoming a successful tourist attraction, it has to be first and foremost the place where people live and want to continue to live. It is the place where people recognise the roots of their individual and community identity and where they continue to lay the foundations for the future.

One widely shared definition of an Ecomuseum is that of Maurizio Maggi, who describes the Ecomuseum as

a pact the community makes to take care of a territory.

Pact: not regulations which force or prohibit something, but rather an unwritten and generally shared agreement.

Community: the principal players are not just the institutions as, although their driving force is vital, it also has to involve the citizens to a greater extent.

Take care: to preserve, but also to know how to use our own cultural heritage for today and for the future, so it increases in value instead of being consumed.

Territory: understood not merely in the physical sense of the word, but also as the history of the population living there and the tangible and intangible marks left by those who lived there in the past*.


  • * Maurizio Maggi, Ecomusei: guida europea, Allemandi editore, Turin, 2002, p. 9