The Archaeological Parks

The concept of park and archaeological site, national and regional legislation on parks and archaeological areas, Sicilian legislation, the 19 parks included in the system of archaeological parks in Sicily.  

The concept of archaeological park.
Although there is still no formal definition of "Archaeological Park", at least at the national level, circular no. 12059 of 15.11.1990 of the Ministry of Cultural and Environmental Heritage, had indicated the Archaeological Park as a "protected area in which, due to the consistency of monumental presences, a space of particular value can be identified and defined as an open-air museum".

In fact, for many years, in practice and in legislation, the terms park, area, site or archaeological zone continued to be used interchangeably. 

Archaeological site
The Italian legislation does not provide for a definition of an archaeological site, but includes among the cultural assets subject to protection all "immovable things (...) that have artistic, historical, archaeological or ethno-anthropological interest" (Legislative Decree 22 January 2004, n. 42, article 10, regarding "Code of cultural heritage and landscape, pursuant to article 10 of law no. 6"). An accepted, non-standardized definition is the following:

Archaeological site: Place (or group of places) in which traces of human activity of the past are preserved - whether prehistoric, historical or contemporary - and which is or has been investigated through the use of archaeological methodologies.

The Consolidated Law on Cultural Heritage of 2004 which repeals the T: U 490/1999 provides the following definitions of archaeological area and archaeological park.

archaeological area (paragraph b article 99 TU 490/1999)

b) archaeological area: site on which there are the remains of a building that was originally completed in terms of function and overall intended use.

 archaeological park (paragraph b article 99 TU 490/1999)

c) archaeological park: territorial area characterized by important archaeological evidence and by the coexistence of historical, landscape or environmental values, equipped as an open-air museum in order to facilitate its reading through reasoned itineraries and didactic aids.

 The Consolidated Law on Cultural Heritage of 2004 which repeals the T: U 490/1999 revises these definitions: 

  • Archaeological area (paragraph d of article 101 of the Consolidated Law on BC of 2004) - "Archaeological area", a site characterized by the presence of fossil remains or prehistoric or ancient artifacts or structures;
  • Archaeological Park (paragraph and article 101 of the Consolidated Law on BC of 2004) - "Archaeological park", a territorial area characterized by important archaeological evidence and the coexistence of historical, landscape or environmental values, equipped as an open-air museum;

 To better understand the concept of the Archaeological Park, it may be useful to read the Guidelines, published as an attachment to the Ministerial Decree of 18 April 2012, published in the Official Gazette no. 179 of 2 August 2012, Ordinary Supplement n. 165.

Let's see an excerpt:

"The archaeological park therefore falls into the category of territorial parks, understood as places where the intertwining culture / nature is presented in the most differentiated forms, in which naturalistic aspects (geological, vegetational, faunistic ...) now prevail, now historical ones (landscape, architectural, urban, mining ...): an archaeological park occurs when the historical-archaeological component is quantitatively or qualitatively characterizing.

 Due to the "complexity" of their nature, these parks require special attention: it is in fact necessary that the management of the archaeological aspects (on which, whatever the ownership regime, the competence of the State in the field of protection is in force) is integrated in an organic way with the other components of the park (historical structures, naturalistic - environmental contexts, etc.), often owned by local authorities or other public and private entities, which must exercise their rights and competences, in harmony with the needs of protection.

When the archaeological component is exclusive, it is customary to use the definition archaeological area whether it is - as in most cases - of small areas with fragmentary archaeological remains, or whether you are faced with extensive surfaces with impressive and famous remains (such as Pompeii, Ostia, Central Archaeological Area of ​​Rome, etc.) . The archaeological area is also taken into consideration by the Code that considers it, in art. 101, paragraph 2, lett. d, "a site characterized by the presence of fossil remains or prehistoric or ancient artifacts or structures". "

 Regional legislation on the institutions of archaeological parks

The regional legislation on the institutions of archaeological parks is affected by the margin left to the individual regions, in particular to the regions with a special statute based on the provisions of the constitution (Article 117) and the consequent laws governing the division of the powers of the State and Regions, in the field of cultural and environmental heritage and interventions in cultural activities. The composite panorama that can be substantially traced back to two original matrices.

  • Landscape-environmental dimension, placing the accent on the aspect of territorial planning which constitutes an area of ​​specific regional competence. The related regulations fall within the broader context of regional laws pertaining to landscape planning or protected areas, the latter enacted in implementation of the fundamental principles established by law no. 6, containing the framework law on protected natural areas (Lazio LR 1991/394).
  • In the second sense, the park is included in the "places of culture" or in the typology of "open-air museums" (Sardinia LR 14/06, Marche LR 4/10, Tuscany LR 21/10). This second typology does not include specific laws on archaeological parks, but rather of framework laws, of systematization of the entire sector of cultural heritage, in which they are dedicated to archaeological parks.

Some Regions, while carrying out interventions in support of their archaeological heritage (Lombardy, Veneto, Molise, Abruzzo, Calabria) have not intervened on the issue at a legislative level.

The Constitutional Court, with the judgment of 4 June 2010, n. 193, clarified that, following the modification of Title V of the second part of the Constitution, the framework of the legislative competences in which the law n. 394 of 1991, since the protection of the environment, ecosystem and cultural heritage today falls within the exclusive legislative power of the State (in Article 117, second paragraph, letter s), of the Constitution), while the concurrent legislative power of Regions concerns the skills of enhancement. It follows, with regard to the division of administrative functions, that the powers inherent to protection are in principle vested in the State and can be exercised by the Regions exclusively where conferred by the State (in implementation of the subsidiarity principle referred to in Article 118, first paragraph, of the Constitution) and in compliance with the principle of cooperation (C. cost., 4.6.2010, n. 193). This is found, for example, with reference to the care of the naturalistic interest (with respect to which part of the protection responsibilities belong to the Regions) and, to a certain extent, with reference to landscape protection (substantially co-managed between the State and the Regions), while the archaeological protection remains exclusively attributed to the State.

Furthermore, the Regions exercise the function of enhancement, on the basis of the fundamental principles established by state law and subject to the needs of protection; it being understood, however, that the enhancement of cultural assets belonging to the State is the responsibility of the latter (C. cost. 20.1.2004, n. 26).

From the complex framework that has been briefly outlined, in accordance with the consolidated guidelines and confirmed by the most recent constitutional jurisprudence, the illegitimacy of any initiative that tends to achieve the albeit acceptable aim of procedural simplification not through recourse to coordination offices provided for by the legal system, but unilaterally bringing the care of all the various public interests pertaining to the territory back to a single institutional level.

 LR n. 20/2000 of the Sicily Region
Entirely different is the case of the Sicilian Region, which by virtue of its special statute has issued specific legislation in the sector, which constitutes an example that is currently isolated in the national context. The Regional Law n. 20/2000, dedicated primarily to the establishment of the Archaeological and Landscape Park of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, has in fact identified in article 20 also specific rules aimed at the establishment of a system of archaeological parks that extends throughout Sicily and for the first time it establishes the "Archaeological Park" as an institutional subject.  

The Regional Law n. 20/2000 of the Sicily Region offers a different vision of the archaeological park, which starts from the premise that, as the experience of natural parks has taught, to overcome the hostility of local populations it is necessary, from the moment of its establishment, to provide for a strong autonomy of the park structure, endowed with the authority to promote with private individuals the elaboration of a broad plan of surrounding productive activities.  

Purpose of Regional Law n. 20/2000
The Purposes of the regulation are expressed in article 20, according to which the "system" of regional archaeological parks is aimed at safeguarding, managing, conserving and defending the regional archaeological heritage, as well as allowing the best conditions of usability for scientific and social purposes. , economic and tourist of the same. 

Park bodies according to Regional Law no. 20/2000
These are the Director and the technical - scientific committee. 
The first, who is the central figure of the new institute, not only exercises all the management functions of the Park, of which he is the legal representative, but is also the person in charge of the technical-scientific activity that takes place in the area. In fact, the director has the task of preparing both the park regulation scheme - in which the organization and functioning of the Park are modeled on the specific values ​​of the individual areas - and the annual and multi-year program of activities, which, is clarified, includes all the interventions dedicated to the research and enhancement of the archaeological heritage of the Park. 
The second, made up of experts and institutional representatives, exercises an advisory function on all the director's acts. The committee also expresses the opinion required by the protection law for the execution of the interventions included in the Park program.
The latter body also maintains an important role within the Park, although it is separated from the management functions of the Park, which are reserved for its director. In particular, the Superintendent chairs the technical-scientific committee and has the exclusive task of proceeding with the design of the parks, already identified by the Regional Councilor pursuant to LR n. 20/2000, which fall within the province of competence: which involves the identification and delimitation of the archaeological area and its buffer zones, as well as the preparation of the Park regulation scheme and in particular the rules that establish "modalities of use, constraints and prohibitions "operating in the park territory, and this also in variation to the provisions of the local general urban planning tool. For this reason, the park project must be accompanied by the mandatory opinion issued by the Municipality concerned



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