Experience the legacy of Democracy at Villa Fabris: join the Summer School or organise A Summer Retreat

May 03, 2024

Territorial & local development

Local democracy forms the cornerstone of participatory governance, fostering community engagement, and ensuring that the voices of citizens are heard and respected in decision-making processes. In recent years, the importance of local democracy has become increasingly evident, particularly in the face of global challenges such as populism, polarization, and erosion of trust in institutions. 

Villa Fabris, with its rich historical significance and serene surroundings, provides an ideal setting for reflection and discourse on the vital role of local democracy in sustaining and strengthening democratic principles.

The Summer School on Local Democracy at Villa Fabris aims to convene thought leaders, policymakers, academics, and practitioners from around the world to explore innovative approaches, emerging trends, and best practices in local governance. By bringing together diverse perspectives and experiences, the summer school seeks to facilitate knowledge exchange, capacity building, and networking opportunities among participants, empowering them to become catalysts for positive change in their respective communities.

Key themes and objectives of the summer school include:

  1. Understanding the Foundations of Local Democracy: Delving into the historical evolution and theoretical underpinnings of local democracy, examining its significance in the broader context of democratic governance.
  2. Challenges and Opportunities in Contemporary Local Governance: Identifying and analysing current challenges facing local governments, such as political polarization, fiscal constraints, and social inequality, while exploring innovative strategies for overcoming these obstacles.
  3. Harnessing Technology for Citizen Engagement: Exploring the potential of digital platforms, data analytics, and e-participation tools to enhance citizen participation, transparency, and accountability in local decision-making processes.
  4. Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Communities: Examining approaches to fostering inclusive dialogue, diversity, and social cohesion within local communities, with a focus on sustainability, resilience, and equitable development.
  5. Strengthening Democratic Institutions and Civic Engagement: Assessing the role of civil society, grassroots movements, and local leadership in nurturing democratic values, promoting civic education, and building trust between citizens and government.
  6. Case Studies and Best Practices: Showcasing successful initiatives, pilot projects, and innovative models of local democracy from various regions, highlighting lessons learned and practical insights for replication and adaptation.

Overall, the Summer School on Local Democracy at Villa Fabris seeks to inspire, educate, and empower participants to become effective advocates for local democracy and champions of democratic governance in their communities and beyond. By fostering collaboration and mutual learning, the summer school aims to contribute to the establishment of Villa Fabris as a hub for ongoing dialogue and capacity building in the field of local democracy.


  • Welcome and Introduction to Villa Fabris
  • Keynote Address: “The Evolution of Local Democracy: Historical Perspectives”
  • Panel Discussion: “Principles and Values of Local Democracy”
  • Workshop: “Citizen Participation and Democratic Decision-Making”
  • Networking Reception and Cultural Evening
  • Keynote Address: “Navigating Challenges in Contemporary Local Governance”
  • Panel Discussion: “Innovative Approaches to Local Service Delivery”
  • Workshop: “Digital Democracy: Leveraging Technology for Civic Engagement”
  • Study Visit: Thiene Municipality and Local Community Projects
  • Interactive Session: “Design Thinking for Local Solutions”
  • Keynote Address: “Promoting Inclusivity and Sustainability in Local Development”
  • Panel Discussion: “Social Cohesion and Community Resilience”
  • Workshop: “Empowering Marginalised Voices: Strategies for Inclusive Governance”
  • Closing Ceremony: Reflections and Next Steps
  • Farewell Lunch and Departure

Throughout the program, participants will have opportunities for informal discussions, networking, and engagement with speakers and experts. Post-event resources, including presentations, case studies, and recommended readings, will be made available to participants to support ongoing learning and knowledge sharing.

The summer school will be conducted in English to accommodate international participants, with interpretation services provided as needed. Additionally, efforts will be made to ensure accessibility and inclusivity for all attendees, including those with disabilities or special requirements.

By fostering dialogue, collaboration, and knowledge exchange, the Summer School on Local Democracy at Villa Fabris aims to contribute to the advancement of democratic governance at the local level and the establishment of lasting partnerships for positive social change.



Villa Fabris in Thiene, represents an exquisite venue for hosting retreats focused on local democracy-related issues. Nestled in the heart of Veneto, Italy, Villa Fabris offers a captivating environment that seamlessly intertwines history, culture, and contemporary discussions on democracy.

Hosting a retreat on local democracy-related issues at Villa Fabris offers participants a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in an environment that inspires critical thinking and intellectual exploration. Whether engaging in lively debates in the Villa’s elegant salons or finding solace for quiet contemplation amidst the greenery of its grounds, guests are sure to find inspiration in every corner of this wonderful estate.

In addition to its inspiring setting, Villa Fabris offers a range of facilities and services to ensure a seamless and enriching retreat experience. From comfortable accommodations in the Villa’s beautifully appointed guest rooms, or in another locations nearby, to gourmet dining experiences featuring locally sourced ingredients, every aspect of the stay is curated to enhance comfort and enjoyment.

ALDA, the European Association for Local Democracy, co-manager of the Villa, is ready to support the organization, facilitation, and implementation of the retrait offering a wide range of services, thanks to its dedicated team of professionals who are committed to facilitating meaningful discussions and fostering collaboration among retreat participants. Whether you require logistical support, expert facilitation, or access to a wide range of resources on democracy-related topics, ALDA is here to ensure that your retreat is a resounding success.

For information please call +39 0444 540146 or send an e-mail