«Un' immensa campagna avvolta dal verde» - Reinventing rural areas in Italy through tourism promotional images

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«Un' immensa campagna avvolta dal verde» - Reinventing rural areas in Italy through tourism promotional images

During the last decades marginal rural territories of Europe lost a great part of their productive character, acquiring nowadays new functions, roles and social meanings which, in turn, are leading to their perception as consumption places. Among the new roles and functions, environmental protection, nature conservation, tourism and leisure activities seem to be the most significant. Tourism, in particular, has an increasing role in the production of a certain image of rurality, through the use of powerful specific (although global) symbols such as green landscapes, authenticity and typicality, contributing to the reinvention of remote rural areas. Based on a preliminary content analysis of promotional materials from Italian rural tourism units, this paper aims to discuss the way rural areas and rurality are presented and sold to tourists and to debate some implications for local development. Empirical evidence suggests a lack of correspondence between the real rural and the promoted rurality.

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