The ROMIT project covers two major action lines which are running in parallel and are complementary: the first one is dedicated to drafting and testing transnational public/public and public/private cooperative models for the development planning of archaeological sites; the second one is aimed at enhancing, protecting and promoting the archaeological heritage of the partner regions as a parallel action to be run with any form of exploitation.
To achieve the above objectives, all partners will start working together with relevant stakeholders starting from a preliminary focus group to “get them on board” (1). Immediately after, a first transnational survey (2) will be run to compare current management systems of archaeological sites of the partner regions, according to their urban and spatial contexts, identifying weaknesses and successful formulas for promoting the historical and cultural identity of a site. A second transnational survey (3) will investigate laws and regulations on risk prevention in archaeological sites, in order to facilitate the development of a common European approach through the establishment of good practices. The outcome of the surveys will be used for a feasibility study (4) aimed at defining public/private and public/public investment strategies and to assure the post-project financial sustainability of the products to be created by ROMIT. All relevant research findings (2 + 3) will be elaborated and transformed into training material (5) for public officers dealing with urban/land development, cultural heritage managers and operators and staff of tourist promotion agencies.
The second action line of the ROMIT Project is meant to aggregate, at transnational level, fragmented and scattered information and documentation on Roman archaeological sites. This action line will start with the preparation of the European Catalogue entry (6). The Catalogue entry will combine historical descriptions (origin, age, type, localization) and useful information on access, opening hours, promotional or related events (like shows or exhibitions), complementary services provided etc, in order to facilitate their fruition by all interested people, “cultural heritage” tourists in particular. Starting from the regions involved, amphitheatres, arenas, buildings, walls, arches etc. will be identified through networking with field experts and catalogued. (7) Also less visited or completely unknown sites will be included.
After the completion of the cataloguing phase, a cultural route (8) of the Roman archaeological sites will be designed and promoted. This cultural route will initially connect regions in the partner regions, but it will be open to any possible future extension. The cultural route will be developed on the basis of rules and priorities established by the Council of Europe, through its specific “Cultural Route Project” initiated in 1987.
Along with cataloguing and setting up the cultural route, a web site (9), graphically based on the Tabula Peutingeriana (Codex Vindobonensis 324), as previously said, a medieval copy of a road map dating back to the Roman age, will be developed. The website will be the virtual representation of the cultural route, providing visitors with all relevant information and including a section about the main preservation problems of the Roman heritage.
A transversal research area will focus on (10) investigating the economic impact of heritage tourism. Existing international studies on heritage tourism will be collected and analysed. The results will be used to lay down the activity areas of a European Observatory on travellers interested in historic and cultural heritage (11). The observatory should be hosted by already existing regional tourist observatories or offices, to be involved during the project lifetime.
Exchange of good practices and experiences across Europe will be handled through the participation in fairs targeting actors who can benefit from the ROMIT outcomes and achievements: fairs for public administration, for the preservation of heritage or for specific on tourism. The organisation of transnational meetings and conferences involving both stakeholders from the involved regions and from other Cadses Areas which might be interested in joining the initiative due to common cultural or economic interests, will ensure that a broader public, and in particular, those professionally concerned with the field covered, will be made familiar with the results of the project. (12) and will drive the design of a strategic development plan aiming to assure sustainability after the end of the project (13).