Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Preservation of Terraced Landscape of Cinque Terre

Mariolina Besio
Dipartimento di Progettazione e Costruzione dell'Architettura
Università di Genova, Italy

The Cinque Terre is an impressive and unique landscape that covers about 4000 hectares near the Liguria region’s border with Tuscany in the north western coast of Italy. It has a population of about 5000 people and its rural landscape is characterized by steep hillsides that drop down to the sea. These are marked by a geometry of terraces held up by dry-stone walls and covered with vines. The landscape has been recognized by UNESCO in 1997 as a world heritage site and as a cultural landscape. It was produced by collective creativity that was able to draw opportunities for a peculiar agriculture from the difficulties of the natural environment.

It is unfortunate that most of the territory, at present, has undergone “artificialization” which imposed a new “human nature” on the first “natural nature”. The natural make-up of land and draining were transformed by the system of terraces. In the terraced areas spontaneous vegetation was replaced by agriculture. A generalised tendency to abandon agricultural practices has long been evident: in the heyday of agriculture. If man’s presence declines, the survival of landscape is at risk and its stability can degenerate until it collapses.

Landscape management tools are introduced to help preserve and restore the terraces. The landscape model aims to protect the landscape and to develop the local socio-economic conditions of the community. It joins local and national plans, its instruments and policies.

These planning tools operate to:
■ conserve the terraced landscape built structures
■ re-qualify after degradation
■ accessibility and transportation

The instruments of socio-economic development operate to support:
■ structures and services for local communities
■ traditional farming and wine production
■ tourist supply.

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