Arts and cultural activities, Community development


A lifelong collaboration between seven towns along Ticino rural valley, each one with its own Castle and canals, to activate local civil society set aside by the influence of the city of Milan


Who is behind this?

Giovanni Fragapane

Cusago Time Banking Association


Who is joining forces?

Municipality of Cusago


Municipality of Abbiategrasso


Municipality of Pavia


Other partners: Binasco, Bereguardo, Vigevano towns (each one with a Visconti Castle); Trezzano sul Naviglio town on canal “Grande”; “Politecnico” University; 24 Municipalities utility consortium.


Idea pitch

We have castles, canals, ancient farmhouses, beautiful rural landscapes, excellent gastronomy, relevant history and important legacies as the one from Leonardo da Vinci. All of this is quite unseen and unrecognized due to the attraction given by the strong presence of the city of Milan. Nowadays another lifestyle in the rural areas is possible: slower, healthier, opened to History, Culture, Beauty. We want this to begin to be real, activation local civil society especially the new generations..

Where will your project idea take place?

North Italy

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

A first challenge, with the help of the Municipalities, is the creation of an effective communication and exchange network between citizens, especially among the youngest, which can make them aware of history, landscape, green infrastructures, cultural services. present in the municipalities near them. The second challenge is to increase the opportunities for cultural exchange in this territory little known by its citizens. The third challenge is to build a whole valley common recognizable territorial identity, with which citizens can feel like a whole community and a big relationship opportunity.(

Who are you doing it for?

The project is addressed to all citizens of the municipalities involved in the project, to make them aware of their own history and culture. Is done for children and teenagers who will have the opportunity to get to know their own territory to enhance it and take care of it in the future. The youngers will be particularly involved as spokespersons and representatives of the territory. Young people and adults will have the opportunity to activate cultural events, well known relationship opportunities, and guides welcoming visitors. Adults will have a broader and more widespread cultural offer.

How do you plan to get there?

The action plan expects different paths to follow. First: activating a permanent Organizing Secretary Office to support a group of young people and the Seven Castles Municipalities and guide them to let know deeply the territory. This it will be based in Cusago’s public Library. Second: activating news on websites and social networks, and with leaflets, postcards and posters. Third: organizing an itinerant Information Office to follow throughout a whole year events, exhibitions and fairs of all kind. Four: activating “Itineraries and Visits” especially in the Visconti Castles for the schools and welcoming them on historic places with professional actors that will stage live theatre, to introduce castles life and its historic characters in order to build an identity that finds its deepest roots in a common history and traditions

What are the expected results?

After a year developing the project we want in each of the Seven Castles Municipalities partners an active group of people, predominantly young people, to become the promoters of the territory sharing all cultural activities, and social events, that will be organized all around. The organization hubs will be placed in each of the Seven Castles and will work in close relationship with the General Secretariat led by the “Cusago Time Banking Association”. At the end of the process of the construction of the network, towards the end of 2022, it will be organized a General Meeting to share the experiences acquired. The meeting will be the start point of identity and territory consciousness. The intrusive city of Milan still manages to engulf our rural landscape identity.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The knowledge of our territory is the foundamental element that leads the project. Understanding the richness of a land with its history and historical sites, it’s the a way to understand the present and to be social active. So the reason to promote these municipalities with they territories and castles, it strengthens population self consciousness and give better consideration of the place where they live. To begin with children, involving local schools, and with local associations with they active members. A place with rich relationships also bring citizens to be more interested in political decisions that concerns them. Not to talk about the economic point of view, where a lively society leads to a better economy.

Why is this idea important to you?

Our association has been working since 2013 in the promotion of the Castle and the rural landscape of Cusago, organizing many events throughout the years in close collaboration with the Townhall. Due to the fact that the civil society of Cusago alone is too small and with a rural background, in 2018 we decided to start to promote Cusago events beyond its borders, contacting the neighboring municipalities that had a common history, those which had a Visconteo Castle and a Naviglio canal. Now these Municipalities have understood that only by working together they can be stronger and have more chances towards whom still considers this territory as not so appealing.

€ 46500,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Organizational Secretariat 12000€; Advertising campaign: 16500 € (Website 3000.00 € + Short video: 6000.00 € + Relations with the press: 3500.00 € + Graphics: 4000.00 €); Itinerant secretariat: 9000 €; Travel and accomodations costs, catering 2000 €; Conventions and party closing 7000 €.

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

The opinions on the project from the Civic Europe reference community would be very useful in order to stimulate its citizens.


Banca del Tempo di Cusago

Idea created on April 13, 2021
Last edit on April 20, 2021

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