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Landscapes

Ph. © Fabio CIlea

Landscape

The word landscapes immediately evokes pleasant views of nature, affected by human intervention to a greater or lesser degree, but over the centuries various schools have tried to define more precisely what Landscape actually means. According to some scholars, it can be described as the sum of things and the relationships between them, others identify it more as the result of the evolution of Nature and the actions of Man, other still define landscape as the sum of the forms of a place and the relationship between them. The European Landscape Convention in 2000 has determined that Landscape means a certain part of land, as it is understood by the population, whose character derives from the action of natural and/or human factors and their inter-relations. Seen in this light, the landscape is the authentic expression of the values of that particular place, a tool for intergenerational transmission and exchange between peoples.
If, as the geographer Eugenio Turri wrote, we consider the landscape not only to be a physical space formed by mankind to live and produce in, but also as a stage on which everyone plays their part, both as actor and as spectator, then the landscape of south-eastern Sicily is an extraordinary representation. The continuous sequence of promontories, bays, beaches, small islands and cliffs; the wetlands and marshes that dry up in the plains; the farmland sliced by rivers and torrents that run through woods and stone mountains where the people of the paleolithic period searched for answers to the eternal questions of existence, life and death. With the stone and in the stone of the Hyblean HIlls, they cut, excavated and carved; the tombs of the dead were of stone, as were the tools and the arms of the living; later the towns were of stone as were the temples, theatres and statues. Today, from Siracusa to Buccheri, from Noto to Palazzolo Acreide, you can still feel the force of the giuggiulena stone and the Hyblean limestone, still white and glowing under the patina of millenia. Ortigia and the Neapolis park are some of the main attractions of cultural tourism in Sicily, the object of desire of generations of travellers, artists and writers from all over the world. Siracusa’s cultural heritage also consists of places that are less well-known but no less important, like Pantalica, Thapsos, Mégara Hyblaea and Akrai.
Much of what has been lost of those past glories was not destroyed by the passing of time or ravaged by the elements, but rather by men and their wish to erase those memories which they felt didn’t fit into their idea of ‘modern identity’. That’s why the promotion of cultural heritage linked to the landscape can help to create a new economy and opportunities for tourism and agriculture, while stopping the degradation of the environment and promoting territorial cohesion.
June 18, 2021

The Saltflats of Priolo

The Nature Reserve “Saltflats of Priolo”, found in a very particular setting and famous mostly for the vast industrial area around it, offers unexpected delights and reveals an important natural environment.
February 8, 2021

The Hyblean agricultural landscape

In order to recognise the basic characteristics that make up the identity of a place, such as the invariables of the countryside, we have to pinpoint its special elements; the territorial and urban structures, the local economic systems, and aspects of the farming landscape which make up the heritage of that territory.
January 29, 2021

The Wetlands

All year round, the wetlands of south-eastern Sicily are filled with numerous bird species which vary in type and number as the seasons and the environmental and climatic conditions change.
January 26, 2021

Lemon landscapes of Siracusa

This is the land where Goethe wrote "Do you know the land where the lemons blossom, where golden oranges glow over dark leaves?” The lemon is a representative symbol of the history and identity of the landcapes of Siracusa.
January 23, 2021

Goliarda Sapienza

«That strip of emerald green there, that is the sea of Africa» Goliarda Sapienza
December 14, 2020

From Hills to Cities

The landscape round Siracusa is characterised by open fields of crops, marked with the dramatic incisions of the canyons. The predominant colour of the earth is intense brown, while the dark green of the woods takes on a deep blue hue in the brilliant sunlight, speckled by the lighter greens of mastic trees, tamarisks and almond trees. The vineyards and citrus groves are found principally along the coast, while the arable land extends up to the first step of the Hyblean plateau.

Articles

June 18, 2021

The Saltflats of Priolo

February 8, 2021

The Hyblean agricultural landscape

January 29, 2021

The Wetlands

January 26, 2021

Lemon landscapes of Siracusa

January 23, 2021

Goliarda Sapienza

December 14, 2020

From Hills to Cities

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