1. Centro di Documentazione "A. Mazzoni"
Corso Vittorio Emanuelle III, 21

2. Hotel Le Dune
Via Lungomare, 16


During the workshop on May 17, we will analyze five open spaces in Bella Farnia and propose concrete strategies for making them work better as places of integration, focussing on a given theme for each location: the square, the park, the playground, the market and the hub.

The square
a central meeting place
The original design of Bella Farnia included plans for a central open space for the residents and children. However, this project was never realised, leaving the space itself incomplete and the overall neighbourhood without a central gathering place.

The park
green spaces for collectivity
Bella Farnia has many open spaces. However, none of these are designed as public parks; there are only private or ambiguous green areas.

The playground
space of play as place of socialization
The football field and surrounding green areas are a potential case study for developing recreational spaces.

The market
market as place of exchange of commerce and culture
A covered market and supermarket were planned in the northern part of the residential estate, but were never realised. The empty area could become a daily or temporary market.

The hub
space of connection as place of relations
The empty area along the main road traversing Bella Farnia could become a transportation hub connecting the area with Sabaudia and other villages.



Claudio Leone (Head of Productive Activities and of the Europe Desk, Municipality of Sabaudia)
Claudio Leone is trained as an architect. He joined the municipality of Sabaudia in 2011 as Head of the spatial and regional planning department. He was subsequently appointed as Head of the Urban Planning of private and public building regulations with special duty on unauthorized developments. Since January 2018, Claudio is Head of Sector VIII (productive activities) and of the Europe desk.
Before working for the municipality of Sabaudia, he worked in public administration for the municipalities of Ardea, Pomezia and Nettuna. He started his career at the provincial administration of Latina from 1978 to 2002.


Michelle Provoost (Director of the International New Town Institute)

Dr. Michelle Provoost is an architectural historian specialised in urban planning history, postwar architecture and contemporary urban development. She co-founded the office of Crimson Architectural Historians in 1994, and has been the Director of the International New Town Institute (INTI) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, since 2008. Under her direction, INTI has grown into an internationally known center for education and research relating to New Towns.

Dr. Provoost is the head editor of the INTI publications. She teaches at various universities in the Netherlands and abroad and continues to be in great demand as a public speaker. She lectures regularly throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States, and has been involved in many municipal, national and private committees and juries.


Dunia Mittner (Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Padua)
Dunia Mittner is Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Padua, Italy.
For several years, she has been working on the topic of new towns built world-wide since the beginning of the Twentieth century, writing several essays and three books: “New towns from the Twentieth century” (Testo&immagine, Turin-Italy, 2003), “The Reticular City and the Modern Project” (Città Studi, Milan-Italy, 2008) and “New Towns: An Investigation on Urbanism” (Jovis, Berlin 2018).


Paolo Cassola (Director of the Circeo National Park)
Paolo Cassola is the director of the Circeo National Park. He is also a teacher, lecturer and consultant for regional authorities, public and private institutions in Italy and abroad. His primary involvements are environmental protection, sustainable integrated planning, coordination and marketing of projects for the protection of rural communities, and the enhancement of local agricultural production and sustainable tourism. He has also co-founded several local development projects. Paolo is a consultant for international community development activities: the “Habana Ecopolis” project in Havana (Cuba), and a water management project in the rural municipalities of the Hodh El Chargui region (Mauritania) for the benefit of the rural population and the development of micro-enterprises. His role also includes the training and communication advice on strategies, actions and practices and European funds. He is writer, journalist freelance and consultant for the WWF delegation in Tuscany.


Mariana Zannella (Director of the scientific high school "G. Marconi")
Miriana Zannella is the Director of the scientific high school "G. Marconi" and teaches Italian and literature. She has many years’ experience in teaching and training seminars about social inclusion and the role of education in the welcoming and acceptance of diversity.



Dhillon Karamajit Singh (President of the Gurdwara Sikh Centre in Sabaudia)
Dhillon Karamajit Singh is the founder the Gurdwara Sikh Centre in Sabaudia. He is also President of the Italian Indian party since 2005, and President of the National Federation of Kabaddi (the national sport of India) since 2009. Dhillon immigrated to Italy in 1985 after obtaining a diploma in business economics at the Guri Nanak University in Amristar, and moved to Sabaudia in 1996, where he runs his own business. He obtained a degree in accounting in 2009, and has worked for the court in Latina as auxiliary. Today, he collaborates with the City Council and with schools to support the integration of the Sikh community.


Piero Rossi (Head of the Quality of Life sector of the Municipality of Sabaudia)
For several years, he has been working as a social worker for the Municipality of Sabaudia. Since 2013 Piero is Head of the Social and Healthcare Services Sector and since last year he is Head of the Sector called "Quality of Life". Within this role, he is coordinator for Welfare, Health, Housing, Public Education, Library and Museum. He is also the technical representative of the office in charge of the Social Health District Plan "Latina 2".

Accommodating Migration: Five Lessons from Sabaudia

Sabaudia is unique among the cities participating in the New Towns Arrival Cities project because it is a forerunner of the welfare state New Towns, built after WWII. It was built in the 1930s as a flagship of fascist architecture and planning. Sabaudia was part of Mussolini’s reclamation of the Pontine Marshes, aiming to increase agricultural production, reduce unemployment, revive rural Italy and build support for the fascist regime. This economic strategy was based on a network of urban centres, including Sabaudia and smaller “elementary urban cells”.

During the 1970s economic boom, because of its seaside location and proximity to Rome and Naples, nearby Bella Farnia was started as a holiday house development. In part because these residences fell outside of zoning regulations and because the hampered development left some houses unoccupied, they were rented out to Punjab workers who arrived in the 1980s to work in the nearby fields and greenhouses.

Today, the community of roughly 1900 Indians lives in a small, overcrowded part of Bella Farnia and constitutes around 40% of its population. However, the neighbourhood’s Italian families in the holiday houses and the Indian communities in the apartment blocks seldom mix. Can the Punjab community become more integrated in Italian society? Can renovating and upgrading public spaces help to foster inclusion?

Culture: A vibrant immigrant culture, yet segregated

The Punjab population in Bella Farnia has a rich culture, but one that remains little known by the nearby Italian community. Their religious life is focussed on the Gurdwara, the Sikh temple, where they gather for prayer and community activities. Anyone is welcome to come for a meal, whether Sikh, atheist or from another religious background. At the end of June, thousands of Sikhs from the province of Latina and from the regions of Lazio, Campania and even further from north-Italy join Bella Farnia’s Sikh community in a procession from the Gurdwara to the centre of Sabaudia, commemorating the martyrdom of the fifth guru Arjan Dev. Apart from religion, Indian culture becomes visible in sports: since 2001, Indians from all over Italy come to Bella Farnia every July to compete in the national Kabadi tournament – India’s national sport. The Punjab culture is also manifested in the spices, food and Indian films sold in the neighbourhood’s modest selection of small shops.

Despite this cultural richness, there is almost no communication between the Italians and the Indians. Even within the small confines of Bella Farnia, the two communities remain segregated.

Public Space: Short-term, local and participative action needed

The city centre of Sabaudia was designed to host the political, social and commercial life of its surrounding network of rural settlements. Its wide axial streets and public squares were built in proportion to the large region that they served. While Bella Farnia’s Punjab community bikes 9 km to the Gurdwara, however, they apparently do not find it worthwhile to travel a similar distance for the public life in Sabaudia’s centre. In Bella Farnia itself, open spaces are under-maintained and mostly unused. There is no school, no playground, and very few shops. It is basically a holiday resort without adequate services, that has not been adapted to its more permanent urban character. Can the open green spaces become social places of value and beauty instead of mere left over spaces?

The workshop proposed improving Bella Farnia’s open spaces with basic maintenance and small-scale, temporary interventions as a testing ground for shared activities such as a playground and small shops. Cooperation between the municipality and local community, either through sharing, organizing meetings to understand local needs, or involving residents in maintaining the spaces, would require fewer resources from the municipality and would give the community a sense of ownership. Moreover, there is possibly too much public space, making it a financial burden; some of it could be redeveloped with housing and commercial programme, generating finance to raise the overall quality of public space and public services in Bella Farnia.

In proposing these strategies, however, we cannot naïvely assume that improving public space and the physical conditions in Bella Farnia will solve its complex problems of inequality and non-inclusion. To make the effort sustainable, long-term socio-economic plans, changes in mentality and political decisions would be needed.

Adapting the founding principles: From serving a regional economic strategy to serving a growing and diversifying local population

Sabaudia was a “showcase” New Town built as part of the “Battle for Land” economic strategy to build consensus around the fascist regime. The O.N.C. (Opera Nazionale dei Combattenti, a charitable organization to support WWI veterans) coordinated agricultural production in a network of rural settlements to maximize yield and distribution. Its function was also political and representational, reflected in its solemn rationalist architecture and public squares.

The fall of the regime in 1943, the growing population in the 1960s and the arrival of immigrants from the 1970s onwards changed Sabaudia from a centre in service of a national economic strategy to a veritable city. New neighbourhoods and services were built around the original centre. Economically, the city suffered from decreasing funds as industry and (military) institutions closed their doors in the last decades. Today, the local democratic government must shoulder the sometimes conflicting demands of the ‘original’ inhabitants and the newcomers from India as well as Romania and Morocco in a situation with diminishing finances and a political climate which is not favourable towards integration of migrants. Sabaudia will need to rethink its original principles in the context of a growing and diversifying local population.

Building a positive narrative: Recognizing the Indian workforce as part of the city’s pioneering spirit

Sabaudia’s two main economic pillars are agriculture and tourism, based on the region’s fertile land and the beauty of its natural surroundings. Balancing an increasingly intensive agricultural production with the preservation of the natural environment are therefore a primary focus for the municipality. However, relatively little recognition is given to the immigrant community as an asset when, in fact, Sabaudia was built by immigrants and continues to be sustained economically by them. The Punjab community is a new workforce that supports the agricultural sector, which accounts for 60% of the city’s economy.

Building a narrative that recognizes the importance of immigrants would firstly require to recognize the ongoing pioneering spirit of Sabaudia: after the first generation of immigrants from the north of Italy, there have been consecutive waves of migrants coming in and the Indians and other migrants form part and parcel of this ongoing development shaping the city. Secondly it would require empowering migrants to participate in urban life. This effort is already being made by schools, which offer language courses and teach immigrant students and families about public services. Participation of youth also happens through sports. However overall, the immigrant residents are not yet an integrated part of Sabaudian urban life.

Government-citizen relations: Private organizations fill the “communication gap” between the municipality and its immigrant residents

While the initiatives taken by schools and sports organizations are an important first step towards recognizing and empowering the immigrant population, there is not yet enough support from the municipality’s side. Independent organizations are working to fill this gap. FLAI (the federation of agricultural industry labourers) organized numerous strikes, resulting in the passing of the law against “caporalato”, the illegal hiring of agricultural labourers for very low wages through an agent. Every Wednesday, FLAI worker Hardeep Kaur parks a minibus-turned-mobile-office in Bella Farnia, from which she offers legal advice and helps the Indians to arrange their resident permits and other documents. InMigrazione, a social cooperative in Sabaudia, offers support for immigrants including a welcome centre and language school, and they engage in research and activism on the issue of exploitation of agricultural workers. Amici di Bella Farnia, formed in 1948 to provide basic community services for the first generation of immigrants from the Veneto and Friuli regions, organize activities and workshops for the elderly Italian community. They regularly offer their community centre for the Indians to gather, but the two groups don’t mix.

Although government-citizen relations in Sabaudia are in development, particularly with the Punjab community, the municipality has made a step in supporting local needs by establishing a 2018 participatory budget of 360 000 euros. However, more engagement is likely needed to address this complex situation.


View from Sabaudia’s civic tower towards the church (photo by Isabel Potworowski)

Introduction to day 1 of the New Town Lab (photo by Isabel Potworowski)

In Bella Farnia, former holiday homes are now occupied by Indian families (photo by Isabel Potworowski)

There are only three shops in Bella Farnia, which sell cell phones and Indian food (photo from Sara Allermann Kruse and Anders Leth Nielsen)

Indian children in Bella Farnia playing football on an asphalt parking lot (photo from Sara Allermann Kruse and Anders Leth Nielsen)

International delegates meet the Indian community (photo from Sara Allermann Kruse and Anders Leth Nielsen)

The Indian houses, only several meters away from the Indian residences, are much better maintained (photo from Sara Allermann Kruse and Anders Leth Nielsen)

The Gurdwara, the Indian community’s Sikh temple, is in an old warehouse (photo by Isabel Potworowski)

During day 2 of the New Town Lab, students of the University of Padua led workshops with the international delegates and local communities about how to improve Bella Farnia’s open spaces (photo by Michelle Provoost)

Final panel discussion, chaired by Michelle Provoost (photo by Isabel Potworowski)


The upcoming New Town Lab in Sabaudia will take place from the afternoon of May 16th until the evening of May 17th and will focus on public spaces as places of integration. (How) can public space play a role in accommodating the needs and desires of the multifaceted and diverse population of Sabaudia?

Five locations in the city will be explored by the students from the University of Padua. They have already begun studying how collective spaces – piazzas, parks, markets and public transport hubs – can contribute to making our contemporary cities more inclusive and socially and culturally cohesive. The five case studies are located in the Bella Farnia estate, 7km outside the centre. This coastal estate consists mainly of holiday houses, small villas and residences which today are partially used to accommodate the migrant community. Two distinct groups co-exist: the Italian middle class and a Punjab (Indian) Sikh community that works in the municipal territory’s many greenhouses.

The students’ studies in Bella Farnia will provide a basis for discussion during the lab.

Day 1: Wednesday May 16

(Site visits, open to project partners only)


13.30 - 13.45 International delegates meet in Fiumicino Airport. Transport to Sabaudia by bus.

15.30 Check-in hotel

16.00 Introduction
(Location - Sabaudia Centro di Documentazione "A. Mazzoni")
Welcome by Dr. Arch. Claudio Leone, Head of Sector VIII AA.PP. - S.U.A.P. - Europa Desk. Brief introduction on the foundation of the City of Sabaudia and its urban development by Dr. Arch. Luca Falzarano on the theme "Major reclamation works and new arrivals: migratory flows in the territory of Sabaudia, the creation of the city center and the rural villages”.

16.20 "Gellerup: From disadvantaged area to attractive city district"
Presented by Tom Nielsen (Aarhus School of Architecture) and Sara Allermann Kruse (City of Aarhus)

17.00 Tour of the city centre
Visit to the city center with particular attention to the rationalist aspects of the original buildings, the institutional functions they had in the past and their present role. The tour will be guided by Prof. Dunia Mittner.

18.30 Tour of Bella Farnia
The group leaves by bus for Bella Farnia. On the way, participants will see the agricultural lands and the greenhouses, which are the economic pillars in the area and the reasons for the intense migration flows to the region. The tour will end in the small Bella Farnia settlement, 7km from Sabaudia’s centre, where most of the Punjab migrants live. Bella Farnia was built in the late 1970s as a tourist and summer destination for the Italian middle class from the metropolitan areas of Naples and Rome. Today, part of the estate has been rented by the migrant agricultural workers. The visit to Bella Farnia also includes the five locations that will be the object of the workshop the following day. Locals and/or the students themselves will give a brief introduction to the specific sites.

19:30 Dinner at the Sikh Temple
Arrival at the Sikh Temple at Via Caporale Tortini, the religious center and gathering place of the Punjab community, where dinner will be served (kindly offered by the Sikh community).

21.30 Return to the hotel by bus.

Day 2: Thursday May 17 - Public event

(Conference and workshops)
(Location - Sabaudia Centro di Documentazione "A. Mazzoni")

9.00 Introduction by Dr. Arch. Claudio Leone, Head of Productive Activities dep. (moderator)

Welcome by:
Mayor of Sabaudia, lawyer Giada Gervasi;
Vice Mayor Mr. Alessio Sartori, Alderman Sport and Associations world;
Alderman Finance and Europe desk Dr. Giampiero Macale;
Alderman Productive Activities Dr. Fabiana Marangoni;
Indian Ambassador Reenat Sandhu;
Prefect Dr. Giovanna Maria Rita Iurato, Directorate of Religious Affairs, Ministry of the Interior
Prefect of Latina, Dr. Maria Rita Trio

9.20 Introduction to the theme of the Lab by Dr. Arch. Claudio Leone

9.35 "New Towns, Arrival Cities" project goals and ambitions
Presented by Dr. Michelle Provoost (INTI Executive Director)

9.50 "Re-planning collective spaces within a polycentric city"
Presented by Dr. Dunia Mittner

10.10 "The sustainability of new inclusive spaces"
Presented by Dr. Paolo Cassola (Director of the organization Parco Nazionale del Circeo)

10.35 coffee break

11.00 “The school as a place of welcome, aggregation and main actor in the formation of a spirit of solidarity"
Presented by Prof. Miriana Zannella (Director of the scientific high school "G. Marconi")

11.20 "Arrivals in Sabaudia and daily life from the migrant perspective”
Presented by Mr. Karamajit Singh (Representative of the Indian community)

11.40 "Sociological aspects of the immigration process in the territory of Sabaudia"
Presented by Dr. Piero Rossi, Head of the Quality of Life sector of the Municipality of Sabaudia

12.00 Q&A from the public, concluding remarks by the moderator and presentation of the afternoon workshop sessions

12.30 Prof. Dunia Mittner presents her recently published book "New Towns: An Investigation on Urbanism"

Presentations finish at 12.45 and conference continues with the workshop at 15.00

15.00 - 17.00 Workshop sessions
The aim of the workshop sessions is to involve international delegates and local residents in identifying concrete strategies for making Sabaudia’s public spaces more inclusive. Delegates and residents will be organized into 4-5 groups and assigned one public space. Each group will be formed by a maximum of 20 people and will include local high school students, policy-makers, professors, international partners, local community members and architects/planners. During the workshops, the students from Padua will present their work. There will be one moderator for each group.

Within each group, the workshop will proceed as follows:

  1. Introduction to the site by the students from Padua
  2. Discussion about the needs and aspirations.
  3. From your expertise and professional group, what kinds of improvements do you propose? What are the priorities?
  4. Together define 4 concrete action points for implementation in the public spaces. This proposal will be presented in the conclusive plenary session.

17.00 Presentation of the results of the workshops

17.30 Plenary discussion with panel of international partners
International partners will be asked to give practical recommendations about how to turn ambitions into practice, including policy, participation and design aspects. Moderation by Michelle Provoost, INTI Director.

18.00 Summary and conclusion by Claudio Leone

18.05 - 18.30 Representatives from the five delegations are invited to remain in the Documentation Centre for the steering group meeting

21.00 Dinner (for project partners only)

Friday May 18


A bus to Fiumicino Airport for the international delegates will depart from the hotel at 9:00


New Town Lab Sabaudia Conference
May 17 - Public event
Location - Sabaudia Centro di Documentazione "A. Mazzoni"

Introduction by Dr. Arch. Claudio Leone, Head of Productive Activities dep. (moderator)

Welcome by:
Mayor of Sabaudia, lawyer Giada Gervasi;
Vice Mayor Mr. Alessio Sartori, Alderman Sport and Associations world;
Alderman Finance and Europe desk Dr. Giampiero Macale;
Alderman Productive Activities Dr. Fabiana Marangoni;
Indian Ambassador Reenat Sandhu;
Prefect Dr. Giovanna Maria Rita Iurato, Directorate of Religious Affairs, Ministry of the Interior
Prefect of Latina, Dr. Maria Rita Trio

"New Towns, Arrival Cities" project goals and ambitions
Presented by Dr. Michelle Provoost (INTI Executive Director)

"Re-planning collective spaces within a polycentric city"
Presented by Dr. Dunia Mittner

"The sustainability of new inclusive spaces"
Presented by Gaetano Benedetto (President of the Circeo National Park)

“The school as a place of welcome, aggregation and main actor in the formation of a spirit of solidarity"
Presented by Prof. Miriana Zannella (Director of the scientific high school "G. Marconi")

"Arrivals in Sabaudia and daily life from the migrant perspective”
Presented by Mr. Karamajit Singh (Representative of the Indian community)

"Sociological aspects of the immigration process in the territory of Sabaudia"
Presented by Dr. Piero Rossi, Head of the Quality of Life sector of the Municipality of Sabaudia

Presentation of the results of the workshops

Plenary discussion with panel of international partners
International partners will be asked to give practical recommendations about how to turn ambitions into practice, including policy, participation and design aspects. Moderation by Michelle Provoost, INTI Director.


The present report is a documentation of the insights related to New Towns and migration from the two-day New Town Lab in Sabaudia and it should be read within that context. The lab was the second of five events as part of the International New Town Institute’s two-year project “New Towns Arrival Cities”. The first event was held in Milton Keynes in November 2017. European New Towns were built with a strong top-down planning approach. Today, they all face similar challenges as they struggle to adapt to rapidly growing and diversifying populations.

You can download the report here.








Interested in joining the public event on May 17? Please let us know by sending an email to arrivalcities@newtowninstitute.org

A glimpse of Sabaudia’s Sikh community: a video of the Bhangra Brothers dancing in the Circeo National Park, filmed by Patrizia Santangeli.