After my Bachelor degree taught jointly by the Faculty of Architecture and the one of Economics of “la Sapienza” University of Rome, I moved to Cardiff University where I got my Master's degree at the School of City and Regional Planning in 2013. In my course named “Regeneration studies” I had the opportunity to study the theory and practice of today's most compelling issues connected to urban transformation (such as housing, social inclusion, territorial governance, food systems and so on) through a multi-disciplinary perspective. More specifically, the choices of my modules mirrored my interest about the socio-political aspects of urban and regional domains; how places – be they regions, cities or city-regions – can take advantage of their own physical, cultural and social capitals.

At the end of my MSc I have been involved in a research project committed by ESPON to my university department in Cardiff about regional resilience, a concept which is gaining more and more space in shaping contemporary territorial policy agendas. For this report I produced, together with Prof. Kevin Morgan, the case study on the Italian region Puglia which is deemed to be one of the most interesting political laboratories in Europe in issues like renewable energies, water management and governance of innovation.

One other theme of great interest to me is the fate of Mediterranean port cities, places that I believe could be at the heart of the cultural and economic renaissance of southern Europe, so harshly hit by the current global economic crisis. In many cities old urban waterfronts are changing to host all kinds of other activities (museums, business districts, cafes, open spaces …) or simply left aside unused as derelict land; it is vital to try to understand what are the opportunities for port cities to benefit from the smart specialisation agenda; how in the future ports can find new ways to interact with their surrounding urban fabrics, and in a profitable way.