FROM PROJECT TO FOUNDATION
According to the vision expressed in the ancient seal, the whole city of Verona was to be considered a Little Jerusalem. This fascinated us: it almost sounded like a prophecy! The Holy City soon became a symbol of the New Jerusalem, the wonderful city of the future, which guarantees peaceful coexistence and equal dignity to all. Jerusalem actually means “city of peace”, and Verona is also called to be a city of peace.
The Project was conceived with the objective of interpreting that ancient prophecy in the third millennium: the way we chose to carry it out was to try and improve our city both as urbs, with its architectural and artistic components, and as civitas, with its social and civil aspects. In other words, once we realised, to our great surprise, the citizens’ willingness to participate in the project (civitas), we ‘magically’ merged their contribution with the existing material and its great historical, architectural, and artistic value (urbs): the combination of these two elements generated an example of cultural heritage volunteering.
After months of recruiting, training, and communication, on the 26th of November, 2016, the new-born team of volunteers opened the churches of the first itinerary – Rebirth from Water, Verona Beyond the River – to visitors. The night before, Verona Minor Hierusalem had been inaugurated inside the church of San Giorgio, with the participation of a special guest, Philippe Daverio.
We immediately had an unexpected response: our beautiful churches were visited by numerous people: tourists, pilgrims, and the same citizens of Verona, who were met by the disarming and welcoming smile of our volunteers.
From the very start we had two other itineraries in the pipeline, and we knew that we needed a legal status that could better manage the entire project from a single control room. Thus, on the 12th of December, 2018, a Foundation was established with the aim of better managing the most precious resources of the Project: our volunteers and our cultural heritage. We, then, inaugurated the other two itineraries, that, together with the first, now encompass the whole city, focusing on the elements along the way: the river, the bridges, the Roman gates, the squares, the castles, the wells, the fountains, the palaces, the gardens and much, much more, in a synthesis of nature and culture, knowledge and flavours, events and monuments just waiting to be visited.