This chapter analyses the development of rural tourism in Italy over the recent decades. Since the end of the twentieth century, also due to the crisis of industrialization and the exhaustion of the factory work model, interest in “returning to the countryside” has grown. The spreading of new social and cultural trends, more sensitive to the issues of sustainability and preservation of natural wealth, has encouraged in Italy, the country of art and the beautiful landscape, a sudden increase in new tourism initiatives that are environmental friendly and revolving around quality food and wine. The “Roads of flavours” and numerous associations of small towns have therefore been created, to enhance the Italian artistic and architectural heritage. In particular, interest in Mediterranean diet has increased, as shown by the growth in tourism linked to oil. There is no lack of compatibility problems as well as difficulties in devising new cohabitation formulas, but as this work demonstrates, after the boom of the “sun and beach” tourism of the 1960s, today a far more diversified tourist panorama has emerged, thus allowing the rural world to benefit from a renewed momentum.
Part of the book: Sustainability Assessment at the 21st century