Ethnographic research about the role of local typical products in environmental and heritage policies in the Cinque Terre

Luogo : La Spezia, italy, Europe
Sustainable management of natural resources Sustainable management of natural resources
Budget totale: € 0,00 | Periodo: Da giugno 2006 A


Le Cinque Terre sono una delle principali destinazioni turistiche italiane, il cui paesaggio è stato dichiarato Patrimonio Mondiale dell'Umanità dall'UNESCO nel 1997: un paesaggio plasmato nei secoli dalla viticoltura tradizionale basata sui terrazzamenti con muretti a secco. Il mio progetto di ricerca etnografica si concentra sul ruolo dei prodotto tipici locali nelle politiche ambientali e del patrimonio culturale e mira ad evidenziare come politiche nate dal basso volte alla valorizzazione delle tipicità locali, al recupero delle attività tradizionali e alla promozione del turismo responsabile siano in grado di portare a valide opportunità lavorative per gli abitanti e allo tesso tempo a una sostenibilità ambientale, economica e sociale in un territorio orograficamente fragile caratterizzato da secoli di antropizzazione.


Monterosso al Mare Township - Italia

Partner dell'iniziativa

amministrazione comunale

Cinque Terre National Park - Italia

Partner dell'iniziativa

tutela ambientale e promozione della sostenibilità

University of Milan-Bicocca - Italia

Partner dell'iniziativa

The aim of Anthropology is to make familiar what is stranger and make stranger what is familiar, or in other words to learn how to look at our world with new eyes. The main method of research in anthropology is the ethnography, that tries to get the natives point of view about the researched topics and interpret the collected data in an ermeneutic dialectic allowing to go beyond our original point of view.

This research was able to outline two main features. On one side, this research outlined the importance of catching the point of view of the people and cultures living in a certain territory prior to any policy, as this research shows how even the best ideas by local policy-makers didn't work as expected and hoped without being agreed and discussed with the locals before. Top-down policies are often misunderstood by the local people and get their hostility, while bottom-up policies are more effective as they actually involve the inhabitants. On the other side, this research outlined also how free-choice quality certifications can make a difference, literally building the valued added to local products and promoting sustainable agriculture and tourism.

The Cinque Terre ("Five Lands" in Italian") are one of the most renowned touristic sites in Italy, alog with Rome, Florence and Venice. They are five small seaside hamlets in Eastern Liguria, Northern Italy, in the province of La Spezia. Their territory is characterized by very steep hills overlooking the sea. In the last thousand of years, the inhabitants of the Cinque Terre have shaped this territory with dry stone walls terraces, in order to cultivate this harsh and difficult land, into a unique landscape, acknowledged in 1997 by the UNESCO as a World Heritage. Traditional agriculture and fishing used to be the main activities before the economic boom and the arrival of mass tourism in the Sixties. The main products of these traditional activities are local typical products such as the Cinque Terre DOC white wine, the Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà DOC sweet wine, the salted anchovies of Monterosso and the lemons of Monterosso, made famous by nobel prize poet Eugenio Montale.

The main result of this research was to enocurage the birth fo bottom-up policies and the dialogue between inhabitants and policy-makers such as the Cinque Terre National Park.

This is an academic research based on fieldwork, but it's not over yet. It will be complete by february 2015. Once published, it's supposed to benefit on one side the local inhabitants and policy-makers as well, and on the other side the scientific community of cultural anthropology in general and anthropology of tourism in particular.

Francesco Bravin is the ethnographer who made this research.

Cecilia Paradiso is an ethnographer who also studied viticulture in the Cinque Terre.

Silvia Moggia is an engineer who studied sustainable agriculture in the Cinque Terre.

Vittorio Alessandro is the President of Cinque Terre National Park. Luca Natale, Marzia Vivaldi and Daniele Moggia are the communication office of the Park. They all showed interest in my research and supported it. They were also key informants about the Park policies.

Angelo Betta is the former mayor of Monterosso and Emanuele Moggia is the present one. Both showed interest in my research and supported it.

Rossana Piccioli is the Director of La Spezia Ethnographic Museum, who provided a critic and useful point of view with an ethnographic perspective.

The main difficulty was the complete lack of any fund. I managed to fund my own research personally. 

This research hasn't a direct impact on the environment, but aims to give a great contribution to the debate about sustainable agriculture and tourism, especially to policy-makers.

This experience is not yet finished. I hope anyway that it will lead to further developments.

This experience is not yet finished. First it will be discussed publicly at Genoa University in April 2015 and then published. I'd also like to make one or more films about it, and this is why I collected several hours of recordings, but right now writing down the thesis is the priority.