Accepted paper:

North of Trent, south of Bozen: the landscape of the Alpine Adige Valley floor as a mark of identity and tourist attraction.


Marta Villa (Università della Svizzera Italiana)

Paper short abstract:

The landscape reflects man's idea of himself. Does the mountain today belong to its inhabitants or to those who scout it as tourists? The alpine landscape reveals the stratification of the different communities that have lived in it.

Paper long abstract:

Landscape and man maintained a close and symbiotic relationship since time immemorial: almost as if one depends on the other, in a biunique manner. For different decades, environmental and alpine anthropology, starting from the pioneering study of Cole and Wolf (1974), has been investigating the procedures of territorial construction. This paper examines the case of the territory north of Trent and south of Bozen (the Rotaliana Plain and Salorno area), a true human laboratory from a socio-anthropological and historical point of view. Both linguistic communities practice similar agricultural techniques, but the resulting landscape, used also for touristic purposes, is a conscious demonstration of the communities' identity. The historical reconstruction and archive research (18th - 20th century), made possible by a research scholarship of the Swiss National Fund, and field work on anthropological research (PhD in Contemporary Anthropology) will highlight the mechanisms that the two communities implement to reaffirm their affiliation. Whose mountains are these? In the past the mountains belonged to the communities that also governed the valley floor with local governmental instruments such as the Carte di Regola (charters) and cadastres. They would fix damages caused by natural calamities and plan survival solutions. Today this area is strongly exploited (vineyards, apple orchards and handicraft industries) and crossed by communication lines: the landscape is governed according to different strategies, highlighted in the images that tourists look for and capture. In this case, do the mountains belong to the inhabitants or to those who still hope to find something exotic?

panel P020
People and wilderness coming back - negotiating mobility and 'immobility': the case of the Alps and other European mountainous regions