On Saturday March 26th and Sunday March 27th, FAI Spring Days will be back in over 700 inaccessible or little-known locations in 400 cities. It will be a celebration, but not only that: it will also be an opportunity to reinforce the values of civic life as demonstrated by our cultural heritage.
This year, FAI Days are celebrating their “30th birthday”: since 1993, 14,090 places of history, art and nature have been opened up across Italy, visited by more than 11,600,000 citizens, thanks to 145,500 volunteers and 330,000 “Apprentice Tour Guides”. An exalting goal, which however cannot be just a celebration. In the midst of a war that tragically marks European history, this is not the time to celebrate, nor to invite Italians to distract themselves in the pure enjoyment of the wonders of our country, but rather to focus on the meaning and role of the cultural heritage that reflects our identity, bears witness to our history and reinforces the values of civilised living. After all, what else embodies the identity of a people if not in its history, culture and tradition? Monuments, landscapes and works of art tell the story of who we are to those who do not know us, and to present and future generations. Cultural heritage is like the genetic heritage of a people, preserving in perpetual memory a code of shared experiences and values on which our humanity is based.
Never before, then, have FAI Spring Days demonstrated their most authentic civic and educational spirit, which is part of FAI’s mission: visiting the more than 700 sites that have been exceptionally opened up by FAI volunteers will be an opportunity to learn about our history and to reflect on what it can teach us in order to address the present and the future, so that what we are and what we have is not taken for granted, but is understood and appreciated as the outcome of long and sometimes dramatic pasts that unite us as Italians, Europeans and all of humanity. Protecting, conserving and enhancing the cultural heritage, opening it up to the public and inviting all Italians to get to know it and to visit it: this is FAI’s mission, which in these dark times, in these FAI Days, finds an even deeper sense and an even more necessary and urgent function.
FAI, as an institution of the Republic, has chosen to explicitly express its closeness and solidarity with the Ukrainian people by displaying the colours of its flag throughout its communications and properties, but the Trust wants to make a concrete contribution and therefore today formally pledges to finance the recovery of a work of art from Ukraine’s cultural heritage that will be identified as soon as the war ends and the reconstruction of the country gets underway.
Those who decide to take part in FAI Days will be able to make a contribution to support the Trust. Participants will be suggested a non-obligatory contribution beginning at €3 and the online donation on www.giornatefai.it will allow those who wish to do so to book their visit; for many places, especially in large cities, online booking is recommended to guarantee access. Those who wish to do so can further support FAI by making larger contributions or by signing up for an annual membership, which can be done online or in the square at the event.