The European Landscape Convention (ELC) aims to promote European landscape protection, management and planning. The ELC has been ratified by a number of European member and no -member states, including Italy. A new generation of landscape plans is developing in order to achieve the aims of ELC. A renewed interest is growing for landscapes and rural landscapes both at the Italian national and regional level. Sixteen years after the ELC signature, roughly a half of the Italian regions have modified and approved landscape plans with an emphasis for the analysis and design of rural areas. The rural landscapes, in particular, can be studied and classed through several points of view including the forestry, agronomic, pedological, and built dimensions. The rural built landscape dimension has rarely been studied and integrated within the Italian landscape plans in a satisfactory way. So, after an analysis of the Italian regional landscape plans consistent with the ELC and a literature review about the rural built landscape dimension, we propose a method and some key elements useful to categorize the Sardinian rural landscapes. In this study we present the results achieved, explaining real case studies developed under a research project funded by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia, Italy.
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