The vineyard landscape of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato. Building a strategy of tourism valorisation and management

The next SPOT study visit that will take place in Turin (Italy) between September 19 and 23, 2022, concerns the case study “vineyard landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato”, which is a territorial context modelled in the century by local communities in Southern Piedmont. In the past, this territory was poor and marginal, and over the latest years, it has become remarkably rich and with great potentialities for growth and development. This was possible in part thanks to the UNESCO candidacy process, that begun in the early 2000s. and to the inclusion of the area into the World Heritage List in 2014. This landscape was modelled for centuries by the local communities for the cultivation and production of excellent and certified wines. Situated in southern Piedmont and adjoining the Liguria Apennines, the vineyard landscape extends and counts 100 Municipalities where live about 300,000 inhabitants. It is far 90 minutes by car from Turin and 120 minutes from Milan.

The inscription into the World Heritage List list has increased the visibility of the Langhe-Roero and Monferrato as “living cultural landscape” all over the world, thanks to its cultural resources, both tangible and intangible, as well as natural features. At the same time, the area has suffered increasing challenges due to the growing exposition to tourism, as for instance transport congestion and difficult accessibility, uneven economic development, and deterioration of the natural and cultural heritage. Overall, spatial planning in the area is currently characterised by three main challenges:

  • The need to revise the Regional Territorial Plan (RTP) that, approved in 2011, did not include any reference to the UNESCO landscape of Piedmont Langhe-Roero and Monferrato. This activity should draw on the area’s cultural resources, both tangible and intangible, as well as on its natural and economic specificities. At the same time, it should tackle the challenges concerning tourism pressure in specific places where the media exposure is higher rather than the remaining municipalities of this territorial context.
  • The update of the General Regulatory Plans of the municipalities of the area to take into account the Regional Landscape Plan Guidelines (RLP). This issue is tightly connected to the one above, as both the RTP and the RLP are produced by the Region. In particular, the RLP is one of the main instruments through which spatial planning can tackle tourism issues, through the voluntary undertaking of its guidelines by the municipalities. In this sense, the Municipalities belonging to the UNESCO site must update their General Regulatory Plans according to guidelines specifically designed for the area.
  • The delivery on the ground of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and of the EU Programming 2021-2027, and how the actions promoted through the latter can contribute to valorise the tourism potential of the area in a synergic way, while at the same time acting to tackle the main challenges that the increase of tourism pressures brings along with them.
  • Linked to the above, to overcome the rather low institutional capacity of the small and medium municipalities of the area to efficiently and effectively deal with the unprecedented amount of resources, through the design of a strategic plan for territorial development aimed at their effective spatialisation.

Acknowledging the above challenges, during the workshop, students will be required to design a spatial development strategy aiming at the territorial development of the site, in which sustainable tourism plays the key role. The results of the workshop will be a set of policy messages and recommendations addressing local actors and stakeholders actively involved in the Langhe-Roero and Monferrato, with the purpose of helping them in the envisioning of more sustainable policies and actions.

SPOT study visit to Italy is organised by Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) at Politecnico di Torino (POLITO). All project activities will be held between September 19 and 23, 2022 in Turin. However, one-day trip to the case study area of the southern part of Piedmont has been already planned.

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