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I paesaggi d’Europa tra storia, arte e natura / Die Kultur der Landschaft in Europa

At a time when the debate on the shared cultural roots of our European identity is particularly lively, discussing whether the concept of landscape, and of territory in general, in Europe can also be ascribed to a common matrix is both topical and useful. The European Landscape Convention (Florence, 2000), open for signature by member States of the Council of Europe, is an additional stimulus in this direction. This is the broad reference context for the work presented in this publication. The authors are a research group of Italian, French and German investigators, open to the participation of Swiss and Austrian experts. The research was carried out in 2005-2007, in the framework of an International Research Conference of Villa Vigoni supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (Paris) and by Trento University, on the theme "The cultural landscape in Europe, between history, art and nature". While the group’s work continues, this is the first publication of their research activity.

A joint investigation of the European landscape is useful and timely, because the greatest danger now facing this landscape is the progressive formation of a common landscape arrived at by a negative process, one that is not driven by planning or by positive action. Indeed, the danger is to reach a point where what we will be sharing is an undifferentiated landscape shaped by the increasingly rapid diffusion of a superficial globalization, accompanied by glaring phenomena of unsustainable and unacceptable transformation. The contribution of the research group to this problem has focused on two main elements: i) the selection of case studies, best practices and experiences from different European countries, choosing those with the strongest similarities and thus those more susceptible to be compared, and ii) the diverse cultural experiences, interpretive models, and institutional procedures that could lead to a shared European basis for the management of that important heritage of culture and identity, the landscape. Exploration of these aspects has resulted in a strongly interdisciplinary and international work based on the belief that such an approach can help achieve gradually a rigorous and unitary reconstruction of knowledge that at the same time can serve to lay the foundations for a real recomposing of the European landscape in the rich gamut of its expressions.

The contributions collected in this publication are presented under three main sections:
- the landscape as tale and invention;
- the landscape as science and representation;
- the landscape as project and governance.

It is the hope of the research group that their work can foster an international debate on these issues. To contribute to the debate and for additional information on the activity of the research group please contact prof. Rita Colantonio Venturelli: r.colantonio@univpm.it.