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Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 363;

Rediscovering Rural Territories by Means of Religious Route Planning

Department of Agriculture, University of Sassari, Sassari 07100, Italy
Department of Architecture, Design and Urban Planning, University of Sassari, Sassari 07100, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Beniamino Murgante
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 16 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
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Since ancient times, pilgrimages have been an important expression of faith because slow-paced traveling, physical effort, and a closer relationship with nature favor introspection. Protecting pilgrimage routes means transforming them into a medium to rediscover and guide landscape development while avoiding possible speculative drifts. Such an approach is particularly important in rural areas often relegated to a marginal role in planning strategies, but frequently traversed by these itineraries. This paper deals with pilgrimage routes in Sardinia (Italy) and their chance to become an integral part of composite territorial infrastructures for triggering regeneration processes in rural areas. First, we introduce the topic with reference to planning literature and various case studies. Then, we select four pilgrimage itineraries that extend through different parts of the island, and compare them using a set of indicators regarding landscape, accessibility, visibility, equipment, planning, and management. A composite index has been developed to classify paths with respect to their potential to become part of a system of greenways, providing facilities and benefits to surrounding areas. The analysis highlights the strengths and weaknesses of local realities. It underlines factors, such as intrinsic characteristics of territories, local management, and decision-making circumstances, which affect trail potentialities to activate greenway projects to trace a new development perspective for rural areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: pilgrimage routes; Sardinian cammini; greenways; rural area regeneration; trails planning pilgrimage routes; Sardinian cammini; greenways; rural area regeneration; trails planning

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Balestrieri, M.; Congiu, T. Rediscovering Rural Territories by Means of Religious Route Planning. Sustainability 2017, 9, 363.

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