Civic monitoring report
I sagrati delle 100 Chiese (100 CHURCHYARDS)

Sent on 12/03/2024 | By Team: Stop in square - Liceo Scientifico Fermi - Aversa | @

What we found out

Project objectives

Our project has three main goals that we are currently monitoring. The first goal is centered on the maintenance of some of the areas
in the ancient historical heart of our town: the churchyard of Santa Maria a Piazza, the churchyard of our cathedral, San Paolo, the
churchyard of San Domenico, and San Nicola churchyard, Via Castello, Via del Popolo, Palazzo Rebursa, the square in front of it
and the music pavilion. The most important aspect of this goal is mainly based on the idea that our cultural heritage is represented by
these areas and that these buildings and the areas in front of them, not proper squares, need to be preserved and transmitted to the
future generations. The second goal is strictly linked to the previous one: it is important to offer the historical site to the modern
citizenship and to make it functional to their new destination of use. This might be the secret of long lasting conservation programs.
The third and last goal, which is indirect and which stems from the previous ones, is to increase the citizenship awareness about the
social responsibility we have as European citizens in preserving our works of art.

Foreseen activities

The specific activities of our project are the flooring of some of the most important churchyards in Aversa: the churchyards of Santa
Maria a Piazza, San Paolo, San Domenico and San Nicola; the flooring of Via Castello and Via del Popolo, the reconstruction of
Palazzo Rebursa and the square in front of it and the renovation of the music pavilion in the nearby gardens. The project started on
19/10/2016 and it was due by 30/06/2021. All the works were completed. In our interview to the project manager, the CE0 of LIRA
Costruzioni, Mr. Michele Russo, we discovered that it can be considered closed with the last tranche of payments the company
received in February 2024, although we checked the OpenCoesione website and the information doesn't seem to be updated yet. In
conclusion, we can state that the project accomplishment has been postponed and delayed of almost three years.

Project origin

The project 'I Sagrati delle Cento Chiese' in Aversa underwent a structured administrative process:

National Government approval: August 10, 2016, Delibera n. 45/2016, allocating funds from PON FESR 2014-2020 to regions.

Regional level allocation: Resolution n. 41 of 29/10/2018 allocated funds to medium-sized cities, including Aversa, through Tavolo Città, later delegated project management functions to Aversa with Resolution n. 111 -27/02/2018.

Municipal approval and integration: Aversa's municipal government followed suit with Determina dirigenziale n.633 del 26/07/19, integrating 'I Sagrati delle Cento Chiese' into the P.I.C.S. program.

Communication strategy: Regione Campania outlined a communication plan, including public events and surveys, though citizen involvement was reported as lacking, according to interviews with Prof Fortunato Allegro and Mr Umberto Panarella.

The project was included in both PON FESR 2007/2013 and 2014/2020, indicating a long-term commitment to its realization.


Many categories of people can benefit from the accomplishment of this project. First of all, one of the main targets of this
intervention are the citizens of Aversa; we believe that the preservation and the protection of ancient sacred architecture and of our
churchyards, is fundamental to keep our culture alive and that, at the same time, it’s important to offer the historical sites of our city
to the local people and make them functional to their modern needs. In addition, we believe that this intervention could lead to the
development of local tourism, which would definitely benefit our economy and would see the raise of new touristic flows and
consequently, of new accommodation facilities and the improvement of public transports within our town in order to reach our
artistic sites: local small businesses would also see a gain in their profits because of the increase in tourists and investments in their


Aversa faces the urgent need for a common redevelopment policy to address issues such as urban sprawl and the loss of its historical center's significance. Despite challenges, it maintains its central role in the region's socio-economic framework and connectivity to Naples. The city aims to leverage its tourist potential by revitalizing its unique historical heritage, notably its Franco-Norman radiocentric layout. The municipal government has pursued this goal by securing public funds for various restoration and revitalization projects, aligning with broader European funding initiatives aimed at urban regeneration, as we learn from Opencoesione website:

Funds for works with the same theme:

Works realized with European funds of the same nature as ‘I Sagrati delle Cento chiese’:


The project is finished as the CEO of LIRA Costruzioni – Mr Michele Russo - maintained, as he had completed all the works and he had also received all the funds in February 2024. Our group visited all the locations to check our statements


The accomplishment of the works included in the projects have a positive impact on all the town, as the restored areas are of some relevance to the precious historical centre of Aversa. The flooring of the churchyards included in the project needed to be restored in order to be safe; moreover, they are very lively above all in the evening when the bars and restaurants nearby have ‘dehors’ which come to life and host many young people. Unfortunately, during the day, the churchyards become parking areas. Palazzo de Rebursa offers rooms for meetings and conferences, and halls for artistic shows and it had to become an archeological museum with a special section dedicated to displaying works of art confiscated to the Mafia, as sustained in a press release. At the moment only a few events have been held there. In our data journalism article, we compared our spaces to a similar Italian reality in Reggio Emilia. There the citizens, through the town associations and the town government, could enjoy the spaces and the structure for their benefit, organizing cultural events outdoors in summer and indoors in cold months. This is an aim we wish to reach, revitalizing all the spaces in our town and trying to involve our citizens as active participants in our rich culture.


Delays in implementing the PICS; difficulties in letting the restored spaces be used by the citizens; difficulties in organizing cultural events on an ordinary base; the municipal administration is structured for the town ordinary management, but it could be not functional to run extraordinary phenomena, such as a sensible increase of the tourism rate in the area due to the current lack of services (accommodation structures, public transport within town); difficulties in implementing a circular economy; discouragement of us, young people and loss of the human capital necessary to support development processes and invest our energies in our home town.


The project offers:
- many opportunities of rebirth for our city economy based on the touristic vocation of a very ancient historical town such as Aversa; first of all the conservation and valorization of the cultural heritage, in particular through protection, recovery, safety and maintenance interventions of the architectural, archaeological, historical-artistic heritage and infrastructures of historical value.
- many opportunities to develop cultural enterprises and enterprises in the touristic sector (welcome, accommodation, entertainment) and the creation of thematic networks of cultural heritage (e.g. museum system, system of historic villas and gardens, etc.) and the integrated food and wine tourism.
-the use public assets and confiscated assets for social and cultural purposes, as for the museum foreseen in Palazzo de Rebursa destined to host works of art confiscated to Mafia.
-the improvement of the qualitative offer for free time.
-the creation of spaces to promote collective neighborhood activities as the churchyards may become (outdoor exhibition spaces, laboratories, spaces for cultural, social entertainment and sporting activities).


The highest risks stem from a low involvement of the citizenship in the projects. As it has been maintained in the interviews, especially by Prof Allegro and even by Dr Negro (Regione Campania), we firmly believe that the technical maintenance of churchyards, palazzo Rebursa, the music pavilion, will not be enough without a growing sense of belonging and care from the part of the citizens. And this latter can be obtained only if the churchyards and the other places interested become alive with cultural events which might involve both people from Aversa and tourists.

Ideas and solutions

Our proposal is to follow the model of the former Benedectine Complex in Emilia Romagna, which has been restored to satisfy the needs of the citizenship and serve them a functional purpose (see this link
In fact, the churchyards of the former complex hosts many activities which are useful for the inclusion of the entire population, such as open-air concerts and art exhibitions, making it a meeting point for citizens, especially for teenagers. We want our town to follow this example because we know that Aversa has the opportunities and the potential to do it, for instance we have palazzo de Rebursa which offers rooms for exhibitions and museums, the nearby gardens with the pavilion for classical music where concerts could be held. The churchyards we are monitoring could be used better as spaces for the local community, recovering the traditional use of outdoor spaces: market squares, gathering points equipped for old people and small green areas for groups of young people. Thus, it will be possible to foster the development of a strong community life which is the first shield to discourage criminal organizations: we observe that in the areas near Aversa the villages are deliberately built without spaces where community life could be developed; this fragmentation helps the control of mafia on the territory.

Results and Impact of the monitoring

Dissemination of results

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram


Contacts with media outlets

  • Local newspapers

Contatti con le Pubbliche Amministrazioni per discutere i risultati del Monitoraggio

We did not reach out to public administration

Description of the case

We firmly believe that our monitoring activity had an impact on the people around us as well: for instance, we shared the different steps of our monitoring on our social media platforms, giving us the chance to make the project “100 Churchyards” known locally and internationally by using the English language. By all accounts, it appears that our efforts were all well paid since we managed to get our story published on a printed local newspaper, “Osservatorio Cittadino” by Daniela di Palma, which we consider a huge achievement: this way, our monitoring project had the chance to become discussed outside of social media, expanding our audience towards people who do not use the internet on a daily basis.
Our choice to work on a project about our town was heartily felt as necessary but we admit it was a strategic choice too as in this particular period our town administration is suspended, a special commissioner is running the town and the elections for our new mayor will be held in June. Thus when we chose this project we were sure that our voice had more relevance during the electoral campaign. As we have maintained , Aversa is a museum in the open sky at the moment; and it is a construction site in the open sky as well, as for many churches there are restoration works in progress. Hence, it was important to raise our voice and drive people’s attention on “100 churchyards” and on all the other similar areas of public interest. In conclusion, we can say that we’re proud of our progress so far and we hope that even more people can get to know the project “100 Churchyards”, and appreciate and preserve our splendid cultural inheritance.

Investigation method

How was the information collected?

  • Web research
  • Visit to the project's location, documented by pictures or videos
  • Interview with people responsible for the project's planning
  • Interview with the users and/or final beneficiaries of the intervention
  • Interview with other types of people
  • Interview with people responsible for the project's implementation
  • Interview with political leaders

We interviewed:
1. The former mayor, Mr. Alfonso Golia, who led many works of restoration and told us that they were successfully accomplished.
2.Regrettably, we could not get in contact with the Head Project Manager (RUP), Mr. Alessandro Diana, who was responsible for the whole project. We were not able to find his neither his telephone number nor his email contact.
3.Mr. Michele Russo, CEO of LIRA Costruzioni, the firm in charge of the works, who told us that everything went well although they were a bit behind schedule due to easily resolvable technical problems.
4. Dr Negro, the PO FESR 2021-2027 management authority in Regione Campania.

For the citizenship, we interviewed:
5.Mr. Umberto Panarella, former president of “Ordine degli Architetti di Caserta”, who gave us his negative opinion about the efficiency of the restoration: he claimed that unqualified people were involved in the project to the detriment of experts of this sector.
6 MS. Rita Bottone, professor of Economics at the University Federico II in Naples who told us that the accomplishment did not satisfy her expectation because she agreed on the fact that these spaces should have been used in a better way.
7. Mr. Fortunato Allegro, coordinator of “Libreria sociale Il Dono”, an important point of reference for volunteering and for the cultural activities in town.
In conclusion, as we observed, we can state that there are some discrepancies between the opinion of administration and the one of the local businesses.

Main questions

Questions asked to Dr Negro, Po Fesr 2021-2027 Regione Campania manager
1.What policy objectives does the funded intervention meet?
2. After seeing the results, what elements of improvement at a policy level do you think is useful to introduce? Would you do the surgery the same way or what would you change?

Questions asked to administration (Mr. Alfonso Golia)
1. “What was the weak point of the action, who prevented the achievement of the expected results?”
2.“After reviewing the results, what policy improvements would you introduce?

Questions asked to responsible for the work (Mr. Michele Russo)
1.“How were the achieved outcomes compared to the expected results?”
2.“Which technical problems did you face that prevented you from achieving the expected results by 100%?”

Questions asked to citizenship representatives (Mr. Umberto Panarella, Ms. Rita Bottone, Mr. Fortunato Allegro)
1.“What were you expecting from this project?”
2.“Did works live to your expectations?”

Main answers

Regione Campania manager (Dr Negro)
1.The intervention refers to the strategic line "Opportunities and Vocation" and in particular to the specific Objective III_B, focusing in particular on the valorisation of the historical and cultural heritage and on the creation of the conditions for starting businesses in the cultural tourism sector.
Responding to the strategy outlined, the intervention aims at recovering and enhancing the churchyards of the historic center, with solutions that expand their functions and reduce the critical issues produced by the processes of urban transformation and generally present in the connective area of the city. A fundamental aim of the intervention is to raise public awareness of the architectural space of the churchyard, making the Churches lively places to be reconnected first and foremost to the neighborhoods in which they were born, which testify to the profound and fruitful relationships between the Church, the religious Orders, the Aversa society and culture. The thousand years of history of the City have given it an artistic heritage of great value, so much so that its historic center is one of the largest in southern Italy. Aversa is known as the City of a Hundred Churches. Among the spaces given back to the community, the insula of San Francesco alle monache and the Palazzo Rebursa located near the municipal house are of particular importance
2. Most of the times a good restoration, an excellent urban redevelopment is not enough to give life back to a property and more generally to an urban area. We need to give soul to these places by filling them with activities and functions. This is probably the point on which it is possible to improve intervention policies.

Answer of administration (Mr. Alfonso Golia)
1.”As politicians, one of our most common mistakes is to think that a complex project and its implementation need to have visibility in the short term, while as for this project in particular we have to consider it in the long term.”
2.”What we need to improve is the immaterial part of the work that is ensuring that those spaces can promote our culture.”

Answer of responsible of LIRA COSTRUZIONI (Mr Michele Russo)
1. We have completed the job respecting 99% of what we planned. We’re proud of our work and of our results.

2.We completed the work in 4 years, but it took longer than we expected because of an issue: we needed a larger quantity of basalt for the flooring of a specific area and the approval of the Superintendence was necessary to get it. They took their time. However, the work was completed: just a few months ago we received the final approval and the last funds to consider the project finished.

Answer of citizenship representatives (Mr. Umberto Panarella, Ms. Rita Bottone, Mr. Fortunato Allegro)
1.”I expected to find an improved situation at this moment while I am here in the San Domenico complex.” Umberto Panarella
“I expected that funds were used in a better way to do something new for the citizenship “ Rita Bottone
“I expected a redevelopment of the buffer areas in front of churches “ Fortunato Allegro
2.Unfortunately, works did not live to our expectations because we believe that Aversa has one of the richest cultural heritage in our country. Churchyards and complexes such as palazzo Rebursa must be reused to promote the inclusion of citizens.