The Troglodyte Sperlinga village (Italy).

Challenges to sustainable development tourism oriented



Sicily, troglodyte village, regeneration, sustainable development, cultural tourism


Troglodytism is one of the most representative cultural expressions in Sicily and in the area between the Nebrodi Mountains and Val Demone several significant examples of this approach to urban development can be found. Sperlinga village is an archetype of rock settlements in rural and remote areas. It represents a precious treasure chest of information and an example of living heritage, but it is very fragile and risks disappearing. It is a worldwide issue regarding folk villages in remote areas between conservation and sustainable development, and tourism might be both an opportunity and a risk, particularly in those situations where a development strategy is lacking and both life needs and community expectations are ignored. The paper introduces the recent research experience led by the CNR to support the Municipality of Sperlinga in identifying an innovative approach to heritage-led sustainable development. The experimentation in Sperlinga village is part of a long time research by the authors, still ongoing, aimed at defining a general framework to support the definition of heritage-led sustainable development strategies in this type of context. The motivations that led to the selection of Sperlinga case study will be illustrated. Furthermore, the multi-phase strategy for the census and classification of caved dwellings – through Underground Built Heritage (UBH) methodology -, urban regulation, and territorial integration management, up to the final phase of enhancement and tourism promotion, will be outlined and discussed.