CULTURANZE: a cultural trade, an experience, a journey.
Hospitality for culture is the project called “Culturanze”.
The idea is simple. We offer an accommodation for free to artists and scholars in exchange of a glimpse of their culture. It is a trade, a cultural trade, in which managers and owners of accommodation facilities (farm holidays, holiday homes, bed&breakfasts…) offer a room or an entire flat to artists and scholars who decided to spend a holiday in Salento, in exchange of an artistic or cultural contribution – music, films, theater, sculpture, anthropology, science are just some of the subjects covered in the first edition in 2012.
In this venture the tourists staying in the facilities of our network will have the chance not just to attend the events, but even to be part of a small cultural community living next to artists, scholars, and other tourists and travelers like them.
It’s an entirely new way to enjoy culture, freely, spontaneously, and without any barrier.
And at the same time it’s an old way to travel transforming it into what it should be, that is a true life experience in a unique and familiar atmosphere sharing ideas, meetings, stories, and emotions.
The religious obligation to offer hospitality to wanderers in ancient Greece was part of the concept called Xenìa, and Zeus himself guaranteed it. The Culturanze network subscribes some ethical and philosophical principles, makes sure that the accommodation facilities involved in it share those principles, and commit itself to be an authority and a flywheel for culture, revolutionizing concepts and formulas of tourism, especially in a time and in a place that require so much new positive proposals.
The traveler that is receptive to culture becomes with us, and with the managers of this accommodations, the new art patron of the XXI century. This way, we can express our gratitude to people, artists, and scholars, who give their lives to culture. We accommodate them and we spend time with them and with the travelers and the tourists who decide to take this trip with us.
It is almost unnecessary to tell you how, specifically Salento, and Puglia in general, have a historic, architectural, cultural, and landscape heritage that can fill the heart and the eyes of the traveler coming here from everywhere in the world. To live it slowly, enjoying it, making it an experience and not just a visit, assigning a face to a felt emotion, instead of a signature on a sent postcard, finding out with us some places you couldn’t find by yourself, being part of a small group of travelers who know how to bring yourself into question, who know how to open up to the world all around us, who want to enjoy these exclusive events in an atmosphere of real exchange and growth. All of this, and much more, is Culturanze, because the identity grows from the exchange and the exchange is the lifeblood of cultural and cognitive evolution of human beings and of the world since the dawn of time.
We are not afraid to say that we hope our project somehow can turn around and improve tourism and travel methodologies, and - why not – even our way to be guests of Earth.
We hope that the research underlying a journey makes us less tourists and more men and women ready to share an experience and – we hope – that experience can enrich our souls making us somehow new and better versions of ourselves.
The last edition was also the first and has been a real surprise for everyone: organizers, guests, accommodation facilities, and tourists.
We have gathered some important interviews because sometimes it is hard to tell an experience that changed you – or left a mark on you, as some of our guests said.
I like to quote Professor Rossi, full professor in Ecology at Ferrara University:
“Then I saw a sculptor working, I heard her talking, in love with her job and with a vision on things quite different from my own. I (…), what I see is what it is, but it’s not like this, I realize others can see more than me, they see better and they give me something to be happy about, something to be very pleased.”
So during Culturanze an “hard science” man meets a sculptor, something happens, and in a metempsychosis of consciences, the thought can evolve. In the middle of a talk, a happy hour, a show on the beach, a walk, or of a visit in the city our lives have changed, unexpected friendships have born tying the bonds between the guests, the scholars and the travelers well beyond that short holiday that we shared together. And the same happened for the musicians, the researchers, the filmmakers, the photographers, the minstrels, and the poets we hosted last year. The potential released from the meetings between creative talents, travelers, and tourists can create collaborations and relationships lasting well beyond our project.
Among the many events of Culturanze 2012 I’d like to mention the performance of theater and music of Odemà, an acting company from Milan that had its show on a little beach in Gallipoli, the musicians Daniele Contardo (former Modena City Ramblers) and Lassatili Abballari introduced by Rete Italiana Cultura Popolare (Italian Network of Popular Culture), the day of the olive-trees in Lequile in which we “combed” the branches of the olive-trees, the screening of a short-film created by an Italian-londoner filmmaker, a live sculpting session by Giovanna Basile, and the meetings with Professor Rossi and with the gemologist Alfredo Ferri.
Now Culturanze operates across Salento with its headquarters in Pescoluse, collaborating with the Sulmona Film Festival and is planning to sponsor a press award.
Culturanze is a group of people working from Salento completed by a group of people working from London.
At this moment the accommodation facilities who joined our network are three and are exactly the Holiday Homes Salento, the Masseria La Palombara, and the Tenuta Specolizzi. Our accommodations try to satisfy different needs ranking from more informal to high-end facilities, and they have to subscribe our idea of a cultural trade being friendly towards the artist and scholars that they will lodge.
We will make soon our call to artists and scholars for the next edition of Culturanze 2013 that will start in May, and we will open soon the bookings to reserve your stay.
If you want to be part of the next edition of Culturanze as a tourist you just have to book your stay through our website in one of our partner facility, wherever you like the most, or where your favorite artist will be hosted, and in addition we will offer you a 10% discount.
If you are an artist or a scholar and you want to stay for free in Salento for a week just send us an interesting cultural proposal and we will evaluate it.
Or if you own or manage an accommodation facility and want to be part of our network write to us and we will come and meet you.
A last note: the writer of this post was hosted as an artist by Culturanze in 2012, fell in love with the idea and decided to genuinely invest his time and energies in a project growing from this love for Puglia and Salento and from the firm belief that new ideas can really improve our stay in this world.
Culturanze International Projects Co-Director