di Stefano Campostrini e Fausto Fiorin– Università Ca’ Foscari
Aim of our work is to reflect on the possibilities to foster innovation in Italian towns learning from our rich and valuable past. Particularly, we address the historic connection between Venice and innovation, an indissoluble tie that allowed the “Serenissima” Republic to stand out as an influential power in the Mediterranean. By illustrating ten significant cases of innovation in the ancient Venice – from the most famous to the lesser known – we show how the main factor of success has been a well thought and implemented governance. The Venetian govern managed to engage and combine forward-looking policies, favoring, coordinating, and regulating innovations carried out by a complex network of actors (both institutional and non-institutional, public and private). Experiences from the past may turn into the best lesson for the future, in order to project Venice – now threatened by over tourism, touristic monoculture and the erosion of the social fabric – in a new modernity. Strengthening the city’s historic inclination to research, progress and internationality, and creating a synergic governance with a multitude of players, Venice could escape from a deadly future as a theme park-city. Moreover, being centered on innovation and sustainability, it could represent an example of resilience and new renaissance for other Italian cities that, with Venice, share the genius loci.