Ancient cities were sites of social mobility, the coexistence of different ethnic groups, and many cultural activities. Their politics directly involved citizens. This does not seem to be the case for contemporary cities, especially those in southern Italy. There many small and medium-sized towns are no longer attractive to young people, social life is inert, and cultural activities are almost entirely absent. The Ancient Cities project stems from reflections on the contrast between ancient and contemporary cities and aims to suggest new models for social, cultural, and civic development.