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About Feel at Home

Puglia is known in Europe for the warm welcome that local people give to their guests.

It is not a case that the proverb "A baar nsciun ie frastiir" (“Nobody is a foreigner here”) is very popular in Bari and all over the Apulian region. This motto can be considered the brief summary of the Feel at home project.

The goal of the project is to build a social and technological platform able to make every guest (not only tourists but also visitors) feel at home: in other words, it aims to promote the contact, the experience, the meeting, between locals (residents) and the numerous guests who visit our area, more specifically, the Martina Franca area.

The feature of the project is its ethical dimension, which consists in involving the local community that put together their energy and enthusiasm in order to bring to life the territory – by offering visitors authentic and unique experiences – and activates, almost unconsciously, virtuous processes of new ways of sociality and active participation that, thanks to several innovative tools that are available in this exact historical period for our society, become a tangible opportunity for the visitors.

In the Martina Franca there has been conducted an initial census of those people who are available to offer voluntarily knowledge of the typical aspects of the territory (traditions, food, fauna, flora, culture, etc.) and assistance for any needs (doctors who speak the same language of the guest, etc) – and more than fifty locals have already joined the project.

The project is co-funded within the POR Puglia FESR-FSE 2014-2020 - Sub- Innolabs Call Action 1.4 B “Support for the creation of innovative solutions aimed at specific problems of social relevance” - Feel at Home Project cod. UIKTJF3.

General Objectives

"Feel at home" aims at supporting the guest favouring the interaction among citizens, local communities and local retailers in a user-friendly way. This leads to the birth and development of relationships among people who arrive in a new place without knowing the characteristics and those who can give some help with pieces of advice in case of emergency.

"Feel at home" promotes the participation of the native people to create a model of tourist sustainable development that leads to benefits in loco - appreciation of tradition and landscape heritage, etc -. This represents a real alternative of destination management, through which the residents help create the strategy of tourist development, rather than undergoing the effects.

How does it work?

The interaction modality is simple and user-friendly and reflects somehow the social networks interaction paradigm.

Through a mobile application (APP), the guest subscribes free of charge to the "Feel at home" platform and fills in his/her own profile, which is necessary to understand his/her interests.

Firstly, the system uses the guest's profile information to select a set of locals (citizens, professionals, associations, retailers, public utilities, etc.) who provide with services and/or advice corresponding to the declared interests and/or needs. Such a piece of advice is proposed as quick and prompt interaction in order to spot what can be useful for the guest.

Alternatively, the guest can submit an explicit question in a natural language to the system or surf on the list of those locals who are registered with the platform and subdivided per thematic macro-categories. In all cases, the result proposed to the guest is a list of people who can satisfy his/her needs and are available to be contacted.

For each local there is a description, a list of competences, the preferred contact form, the spoken languages and his/her (reputational) rating.

The identity of the individuals, locals and guests, is validated through a proper step-by-step process, in order to guarantee only contacts with "certified" identities. The guest can therefore choose on his/her own who can he/she contact by starting a conversation with one or more locals that he/she chooses and expressing his/her need and the deadline in which it will be fulfilled. The local can either accept or refuse the contact request that is managed autonomously between the two involved individuals.

The advice that the local gives to the guests can, sometimes, result in a commercial transaction between the parties. Such transactions are not managed by the platform except for those which are part of the "Experience" catalogue managed by the platform itself.

At the end of the contact, both subjects are invited to leave feedback regarding the quality of the interaction that took place.


"Feel at home" is set up as a permanent Community Laboratory with the aim of activating and feeding an virtuous cycle of reciprocal learning with the community.

In such a context, there have been a lot of educational meetings with citizens, associations and touristic and cultural public entities, and retailers and professionals based in Martina Franca, in order to share the "Feel at home" vision and values.

There have been collected information about the participants in the platform regarding their own interests and impressions about "Feel at home" and their details and contact info.

There have been organized other meetings, during which the participants have been stimulated to tell freely their own past experiences and ideas about their own area of interest - placed then in the list of tips for the guest.

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