Cos’è un albergo diffuso？
What is “Albergo Diffuso”?
What is “Albergo Diffuso”?
In Italian, “albergo diffuso” literally means “diffuse hotel.” The term refers to a way of revitalizing the economy of small towns and communities by utilizing vacant homes dispersed around the town for tourist accommodation and operating them collectively as a single hotel business.
This idea was first proposed by Giancarlo Dall’Ara, a professor who has worked exhaustively for many years on local revitalization projects in Italy as a town planning consultant. The idea of “albergo diffuso” arose amidst efforts to revive towns and communities that faced the risk of total abandonment following a severe earthquake in 1976 in the northern Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The idea was to renovate deserted houses and vacant shops and set up reception, dining room, and other functions in separate, dispersed buildings to create a single hotel facility. Under this system, guests stroll around the town independently, adding vitality to the local community. In a sense the concept is the opposite of creating an ordinary hotel, in which a variety of facilities are confined within a single large building.
The Associazione Nazionale Alberghi Diffusi (“National Association of Diffuse Hotels”) was founded in 2006 with Giancarlo Dall’Ara serving as inaugural president. Currently, there are over 100 certified “albergo diffuso” hotels in Italy and approximately 150 in total throughout Europe, successfully contributing to the revitalization of their local communities.
Measures to revitalize a town or community are meaningless if they rely on external support to prop up or push along the town. It is also meaningless to build a big box if all the vitality is confined within the box. In line with the basic principle that it is impossible to achieve sustainable revitalization without injecting lifeblood into the preexisting houses, people, and culture, the “albergo diffuso” (AD) system works by uniting local residents to offer hospitality to travelers while maintaining the original townscape and flavor of their town. In this way, they can offer visitors a special sojourn that enables a rich, full experience of the history and culture of the locality.
Image courtesy of Yasushi Watanabe, Professor,
College of Industrial Technology, Nihon University
About Albergo Diffuso Japan
In 2018, Yakage-ya Inn and Suites in Yakage-cho, Oda-gun, in the Japanese prefecture of Okayama, became the first certified “albergo diffuso” in Asia. Furthermore, to promote this Italian-style system of local community revitalization throughout Japan, on June 11, 2019, “Albergo Diffuso Japan” was officially launched as the first branch of the association (International Association of Diffuse Hotels) outside of Italy.
The founding of
Albergo Diffuso Japan
The establishment of Albergo Diffuso Japan in a country that I love so much will help us to work together to expand our activities wider and wider. This is not only very encouraging to me, but it also points to a bright future for the “albergo diffuso” movement.
The fact that Albergo Diffuso Japan has been started in the regional city of Okayama is also significant. Rather than originating in Tokyo, where unfortunately too much of Japan’s economy is concentrated, it is taking root in a distant regional city. Like Italy, Japan is suffering from depopulation, so from its base in Okayama, Albergo Diffuso Japan can help to sustainably tackle the problem of regional depopulation, just as we have done in Italy. I am confident that our movement in Italy and Japan can infect more and more communities with the spirit of “albergo diffuso” and gradually become a powerful force for positive change in the world.
Giancarlo Dall’Ara (president)
Works professionally as a tourism marketing consultant to travel operators around Italy and as a lecturer in tourism marketing at the University of Perugia. In the 1980s, he developed a novel concept of hospitality known as “albergo diffuso” (“diffuse hotel”) and in 2006 he founded and served as president of the Associazione Nazionale Alberghi Diffusi (“National Association of Diffuse Hotels”).
Message from the president of Albergo Diffuso Japan
Sadly, depopulation and aging in rural areas of Japan are making it increasingly difficult to preserve our local culture. “Albergo diffuso” is a visionary initiative and a potentially decisive tool for “revitalizing local communities” in which whole villages can be transformed into hotel operations, by renovating old houses one by one and incorporating them into a distributed hotel.
I see the mission of Albergo Diffuso Japan as protecting and nurturing the unique culture of rural localities around Japan, to foster service industries, to attract more international tourists, and to generate more employment opportunities in depopulated areas. At the same time, I look forward to establishing a network of localities to build a brighter future together.
We look forward to your encouragement and support in our efforts to spread the “albergo diffuso” spirit throughout Japan.
President, Okayama Chamber of Commerce and Industry
President, Albergo Diffuso Japan
10 Rules of an Albergo Diffuso
[Management style] The hotel is fully operated and managed by a single business operator.
[Quality of hospitality] The hotel provides professional and loving service.
[Buildings and location] The hotel utilizes preexisting buildings in a village or town where people have lived for a long time.
[Facilities] The hotel is equipped with a restaurant, reception, common space, café or bar, etc.
[Distances] Buildings are not located too far apart. The distance between the reception area or main facilities and guest rooms is not more than 200 m.
[Locality] The hotel helps to make the local community more lively. Unpopulated towns or villages are not acceptable.
[Environment] The environment is authentic. The hotel is integrated with the social reality and local culture.
[Identity] Importance is given to the traditional identity of the locality and this is reflected uniformly in the services offered to guests.
[Localness] The hotel management style is integrated with the locality and its culture.
[Solidarity] The hotel operates with pride as an “albergo diffuso” and a sense of solidarity with other “albergo diffuso” hotels.
A stay at the “albergo diffuso” embodies the hospitality of the whole local community, which serves as the foundation of the hotel service. In contrast to the approach of hotel chains, this supports the roots of the traditional culture of the locality.
What is “ospitalità diffusa”?
“Ospitalità diffusa” (meaning “diffuse hospitality”) is a new framework established by president Giancarlo Dall’Ara. In contrast to “albergo diffuso,” which requires that hotels are fully operated and managed by a single business operator, “ospitalità diffusa” is a system in which different business operators collaborate as a single organization to help revive local communities by promoting community-wide collaboration to offer hospitality to visitors.
In the case of an “ospitalità diffusa,” the distance between the main building and other buildings can be up to 1 km.