THE METHODOLOGY TO SYSTEMATISE, PRESENT AND USE HISTORICAL CARTOGRAPHY: POTENTIALS AND LIMITS TO ANALYSE AND ENHANCE WIDESPREAD HISTORICAL CENTRES IN NORTHERN ITALY
Keywords: widespread historical centres, northern Italy, urban analysis, historical data, historical cartography, GIS
Abstract. Researchers from diverse fields of study are developing methodologies for understanding historical cartography. Nonetheless, there is a lack of literature that explains the connection between the survey and the interactive use of historical cartography in preservation projects and urban planning. This study demonstrates the methods for the investigation of historical cartography to produce knowledge about the heritage of small widespread historical centres in northern Italy, which had a rich history, and for which many thematic maps were produced through time. The complexity of the area gives a fertile ground to collect, systematise and investigate historical sources. The methodology is developed to be flexible and adaptable to various widespread historical centres in the territory and it is divided into two parts: deconstructive and constructive approach. Whereas the former deals with the analysis of urban aspects on historical maps, the latter searches for the historical elements present nowadays. Combining those two methods in the Geographic Information Systems will produce a timeline and historical stratification of the transformation of cities. Once georeferenced and vectorised, historical maps are enriched with the information from written registers and other historical documents, as well as contemporary ones. The study aims to scrutinize and produce various categories of maps, to draw conclusions about the limits of the use of historical cartography and software used, and finally, to suggest how and where the future work could lead to the overall enhancement of heritage.