Gianfranco Ciola, Filomena Tanzarella

The Environmental and Cultural System of the Valle d'Itria: a promising evolution

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: SAC; ECS; Network; Integrated Management, Cultural Assets; Environmental Assets; Sustainable Tourism; Sustainable Development.

The Valle D'Itria (Itria Valley) is a territory on the Murge plateau in Italy, characterized by a uniformly traditional and beautiful landscape containing a number of towns that have received numerous national and international awards for their beauty, history and culture. The inhabitants are dispersed across this territory in città-campagna (small country towns and villages) characterized by a traditional architecture style comprising trulli (conical dry-stone houses) and farmhouses, which symbolise the Apulia region. In this territory the idea of the integrated management of environmental and cultural heritage is being tested using a sistema ambiente e culturale (SAC - Environmental and Cultural System) known as «La Murgia dei Trulli dal Mare alla valle d'Itria». The goal of the SAC is to activate a sustainable development process based on a well-organised and integrated network of cultural and environmental assets, as well as local private and public actors. It is too early to discuss outcomes, since the process is still ongoing, but the unofficial results of the first year are clear, and are already showing differentiation according to individual area, and which goals are pursued by each part of the SAC. Initial results from the Valle D'Itria are positive. One reason is that at various times in the past the valley already underwent the creation of networks and integration of assets and actors. It has also experienced the promotion of sustainable development and tourism around tangible and intangible assets, including the aesthetic aspects of the countryside, architectural and historical heritage throughout the territory, the quality of food and wine derived from traditional low-intensity agriculture, the quality of life, and the experience of living in traditional stone houses scattered across an extremely beautiful and well organised landscape. Such prior experiences have proven extremely important to seizing the new opportunities to be derived from the implementation of the SAC, because this new challenge requires a positive attitude towards cooperation and network-forming, a common understanding of the benefits to be derived from the protection of environmental and cultural assets, and from the implementation of sustainable development principles.

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