The study of the landscape: from a holistic approach to a social concept of knowledges

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Federica Badiali
Sandra Piacente


Three examples of the study and enhancement of the landscape in Italy are presented. The interdisciplinary approach to this topic is carried out not simply by juxtaposing disciplines, but by the integration of different ambits. In this way, disjunctive thought is substituted by a holistic approach that produces communication more appropriate to research. This offers the scientists a tool that is of paramount importance for their studies, and for ordinary citizens, a new way of considering the landscape. Example 1: Sustainable tourism and man–landscape relationships: Ecomuseum, Castello di Serravalle (Bologna). By studying the landscape of a hilly wine-producing area, it has been possible to observe the signs of reciprocal man–environment interactions that have characterized the area for over two millennia. For this reason, an Ecomuseum was founded, to provide an efficient tool for the enhancement of sustainable tourism, and also to popularize knowledge of local cultural heritage among the citizens. Example 2: Lago Bracciano near Montese (Modena): re-assessment of an Apennine area combining archeology, landscape and history. The landscape of areas containing historical settlements of local populations was reconstructed. This started with archeological and documentary data that had not yet been correlated, which was integrated with geological and geochemical data. In this way, a marginal tourism area has been improved by appraisal of its intrinsic cultural and historical values. Example 3: Geological elements and poetic trails in Frignano Park. This geological–literary itinerary starts from the assumption that there is a specific poetic and cultural value to the Modena Apennines that is linked to the morphological and geological features of this territory. Geology and literature become an accompaniment to a new pilgrimage of knowledge.

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Badiali, F. and Piacente, S. (2012) “The study of the landscape: from a holistic approach to a social concept of knowledges”, Annals of Geophysics, 55(3). doi: 10.4401/ag-5539.

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