Reducing the Loss of Built Heritage in Areas of Tourist Interest
Like the fruits of those seeds sown centuries ago, buildings and places are now an essential part of our cultural heritage. When their golden Age long has passed, they risk abandonment, because maintenance costs are often prohibitive, or they risk being completely transformed. So tourism could provide an important contribution to sustaining their maintenance. Tourism is an essential resource for the promotion of cultural sites and for keeping them alive. Traditional and modern technology should be employed whether for a single building or a whole village or even a small island. On the other hand, increasing exploitation of such sites may reveal itself to be a double edged sword. By attracting an uncontrolled number of visitors this could result in a more rapid decline of the resource. Some places have been radically transformed to accommodate ever increasing numbers of tourists, with detrimental results. Rather than being enriched by the authenticity of the site, mass tourism is liable to damage the authenticity that it seeks. Sometimes the final result is less authentic and the traditional spirit of the place destroyed, sacrificed to a need to comply to standard “hit and run” tourist destinations. The paper wants to present one of the many Italian cases where the need to deal with an ever growing tourist pressure has reached such a high level that intervention now becomes urgent: the small Isola Superiore of Stresa, named Fishermens’ Island located in the centre of Lago Maggiore (Italy). Some suggestions are here reported in an attempt to reduce the loss of cultural heritage in the small island as well as in other similar situations.
KeywordsAuthenticity Tourism Consumption Built heritage Minor architecture Fishermens’ island
The author wishes to acknowledge the contribution of Prof. G. Ottolini and the inhabitants of the Fishermen’s Island for their initiatives and the enduring passion with which they continue to hope that the ancient traditions of the island will not be definitively erased by the growing mass tourism. The author wishes to thanks C. Zonin, V. Cozzi, M. Ugolini and also the students of the School of Architecture of the Politecnico di Milano, who in 2016, during an Architectural preservation studio, carried out surveys of the historic buildings with the colleagues C. Achille and C. Campanella and were able to recognize the values of this small island even outside the tourist season.
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