The Breakthrough of Tourism in a Rurbanised Area

Territorial Changes and Conflicts in the Val di Magra (1945–1975)


  • Elisa Tizzoni Department of Civilisations and Forms of Knowledge, University of Pisa



tourism, river, conflict, environmentalism, Mediterranean Sea, Italy


This article aims to contribute to filling a research gap in current environ- mental history, since the effects of the spread of mass tourism on urban-rural relations in Mediterranean floodplains throughout the trente glorieuses of mass consumption (1945–1975) have hitherto attracted little scholarly attention. The study therefore focuses on the environmental conflicts engendered by the attempts to increase mass tourism through construction of a bridge and zoning of the promontory of Montemarcello at the mouth of the River Magra, a coastal area in north-west Italy. A twofold perspective is applied to analyse both the tangible transformations of the riverine landscape and the intangible values of the river’s natural heritage according to the advocates of traditional landscapes and the supporters of modernisation. By tracing the key environmental impacts of tourism while reconstructing the nar- ratives of place according to different stakeholders, the article’s goal is to bridge the gap between the “cultural” and the “material” approach in the environmental history of urban-rural relations.