measure - with qualitative variables - the level
of consciousness of those who express the
terms and details of this life-experience, con-
nected with personal identity, of being part of a
development plan and touristic promotion. It is
not useful to think about a top-down, imposed
way of growing, without involving those who
will benefi t by this process.
So Levanto could be seen as a challenge,
shared with many other Italian tourist realities,
with the notion of connecting a stay with an
idea of local identity. In this sense, local identity
is a resource that starts from processes of indi-
vidualization and differentiation infl uenced by
history and tradition but also by a character or
lifestyle. This invokes the necessity of keeping
up with the times, of promoting the territory in
an open manner, of welcoming the stranger as a
keeper of varieties and economic development
in a logic of sustainability. 2
inhabitants' consciousness being a strategic res-
ource for the tourist development of the territory.
In the framework of identity as communi-
cative life-experience, the research divides into
a series of operative hypotheses, observing not
only the local community but also the following
roots: the sense of belonging and the quality of
lives of its inhabitants are used as elements acti-
vating the domestic tourist gaze, i.e. oriented
towards the inner space, as the capability of giv-
ing value to oneself's belonging and promoting
it as a benefi t attracting tourists.
Levanto as a territory vocationally touristic:
Levanto as the place of memories and
active dimension of the domestic tourist gaze that
can be translated in the knowledge and sharing
of realized and ongoing projects, of participation
to initiatives, of the private entrepreneur sustained
by institutions, etc.
Inhabitants' consciousness according to
quality and amount of territory's resources: evo-
lution of the relation between tourist demand
and supply, diversifi cation and empowerment of
strategies for a sustainable development fi t for
the territorial identity and its specifi c vocation.
The research tries to explore the concrete dimen-
sions of Levanto's identity, starting with a fi rst and
necessary general hypothesis: the identity of
the territory is defi ned as communicative life-
experience, i.e. a series of images and representa-
tions made by Levanto's inhabitants themselves,
or by those who in different ways live and know
this territory (Boccia Artieri et al ., 2004).
Identifying the elements of Levanto's iden-
tity means for this research using conversations
and images necessary for Levanto's inhabitants
to construct narrations about themselves and
the place identity itself, seen as an indispensable
benefi t used in tourist promotional material
So identity is the framework by which it is
possible to fi nd the qualitative measure of the
For this specifi c case study, qualitative methods
were used because it allowed researchers to gain
insights from Levanto's community, drawing from
their knowledge, their life experiences and their
own prejudices, to grant to the observed subjects
an autonomous construction of the narration.
For this reason, and related to the research
target, visual sociology was applied that, thanks
to its fl exible structure, diminished the risk of too
much control by researchers (Cipolla and Faccioli,
1993; Faccioli and Harper, 1999; Faccioli, 2001).
The process of describing Levanto's social
reality is grounded in Levanto's community
reporting of this observation. Here it is extended to the territorial identity as a dimension constructed in rela-
tionship with those who - Levanto's inhabitants - actually live in the territory and contribute to the defi nition
of its specifi city.
2 Sustainability and compatibility of tourist development are absolutely relevant themes, here intended as leading
values in the policy and programming processes on territories, using the logic of co-ordination with environment
(social and environmental). This logic leads many activities of Levanto's town council and in particular the Service
for Environment, Productive Activities and Territorial Promotion and are also the leading principles of the
association CittàSlow .