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Treasures of Valle di Blenio: enhancing the territory through Gamification

“I tesori della Valle di Blenio” is an application, developed together with Elia Frapolli for the FASV association, which allows families to discover the Blenio territory through Treasure Hunts.

Thanks to gamification and the choice of giving the stories an illustrated, almost fairy-tale style, the application stands out and brings a constant influx of people to the areas where it is active.


The project originated with Christian Bernasconi, a biologist from the FASV association, who is desperate to bring innovation to the benefit of the area.

Christian contacted Elia Frapolli to direct the project and bring his value through his experience as a consultant in tourism.

After that, the last protagonists of the story are us, the Studio MACACO team involved in developing the application but also in finding the elements that could make the project really special.

The idea was to create an application that would work as a support for families during the Treasure Hunt, using a navigator to guide them along the route. In addition to this, there would be stories, insights and clues to help them find the treasure. In addition to this, there would be stories, insights and clues to help them find the treasure.

From simple Photos to illustrated stories

Each Treasure Hunt is based on a small story, which tells the reason why the coins, i.e. the treasure, must be found. The stories and coins are based on the animals and folklore of the area.

At first the idea was to use simple photos as a support, but our Art Director’s idea was something else.

“In itself, a Treasure Hunt brings to mind an adventure, so something fantastic, like those picture books we read as children. Realistic pictures would ruin the magic of the phrase ‘Treasure Hunt’ alone.

From here, the project veers completely away from the initial input and Studio MACACO together with Elia Frapolli decide to give it a unique twist thanks to the animated illustrations and the addition of Gamification.

Gamification for young and old

Having transformed the photos into interactive illustrations, the last part to be transformed was the main functionality: the navigator.

To make it more than just “Google Maps”, we added some interesting mechanics all based on Gamification techniques.

One of the most interesting changes concerns the end of the Treasure Hunt.
In each of the stories the user is asked to find the coins (the treasures) to help those who have lost them, sometimes the animal kingdom of Lucomagno or the Shepherd Dog of Campo Blenio.

Final part of the treasure hunt

At the end of the experience there was nothing but the input to go and get the reward at the relevant Info Point.

Studio MACACO’s idea was to add a small mini-game in which the coins were returned to their rightful owners, making young and old feel like the heroes of the story.

A Social Feature

In order to allow users to use the application and give it a purpose even if they didn’t have to go on a Treasure Hunt, it was decided to include a mode in which it is possible to decorate photos using the stickers of the various stories and insights.

Thanks to this mode, families can have fun decorating the photos, while the association gains indirect marketing as the photo, which can be shared on the channels the family prefers, has the name of the application at the bottom.

Are you ready to find the treasure?

The project has been fantastic, a unique experience both for the opportunity to work with Elia Frapolli, a mind always full of ideas and professionalism, and for the excuse to experience the unique territory of the Blenio Valley to the full.

Treasure Hunts are waiting for you at Lucomagno and Campo Blenio and don’t forget to download the App!

About the author

Lucia Gambardella

Non smetto mai di disegnare, ma ho sempre l'altra mano libera per le shortcut, il cibo e le coccole al mio cane. Non so se amo più il cibo o il mio cane... Se proprio non sto disegnando, mi trovate a scolpire, a fallire nel bricolage, a giocare alla PlayStation, a maltrattare i programmatori, o a poltrire sul divano nella morte più totale. Ho 15 sveglie disattivabili solo dopo la risoluzione di calcoli matematici, ma comunque la forza gravitazionale del mio letto è troppo forte da contrastare. Perché oso chiamarmi artista? Perché la mia mente è sempre alla ricerca di realtà da trasformare a suo piacimento per poi trasferirle al mondo con lo strumento più esatto. Credo che ci sia qualcosa di bellissimo nel mondo nascosto anche nei suoi dettagli più oscuri e gli occhi degli artisti riescono a vederlo e a trasmetterlo a chi non ha la stessa fortuna.