“Italian Beauty”, is the title of W.A.Ve. 2018, that will deal with small and medium-sized historical city centres. The cities, chosen on the whole national territory, from Sicily to Trentino, will be involved through their administrations that will select design project themes concerning their most precious heritage. This year’s edition will be an opportunity to combine historic and contemporary architecture and to foster the research on a topic, the historical city centres, that for over forty years has not been considered with the due attention in the Italian public debate.

The dialogue between architects from all over the world will also be an opportunity to acquire “external” points of view and to make known Italian places that, even today, can be considered model settlement for social and environmental balance. Addressing several cases through the design project means not only to contribute to their conservation but also to think about size, practices, settlement patterns, which are generally valid in a time when the world’s cities seems to be without credible reference models.

1500 students, 26 architects from 14 different states that will direct their design workshops, tutors, lecturers, representatives of city administrations will deal this year with one of the most representative topics of the “Italian Beauty”, which always has had its best application in cities. In the same period, and for the first time in the history of the W.A.Ve. workshops, other design seminars will be held abroad (the 27th workshop!) in other countries: Serbia, Albania, Greece (Crete), Argentina, China, Rwanda, where the theme of historical centres is strongly intertwined with issues such as heritage and cultural identities.

Within the general theme of the minor historical centres, W.A.Ve 2018 will focus particular attention on the relationship between railway stations and cities, in collaboration with the Italian railway society Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, which is the main sponsor of the event.

Italian train stations have changed their role over the years, their position, often marginal from city centres, has gradually become central. The ever-increasing automation of railway transportation has freed spaces and buildings. Today these free spaces are available for cities as places of promotion, aggregation or as terminals for light transport networks. W.A.Ve. 2018 will also focus on these new opportunities within a general idea of a sustainable, connected, efficient and culturally lively city.