The proposal to create greenways networks for the enhancement of more or less vast areas is of great importance to territory planning. The paths, which are overlaid on pre-existing linear patterns, promote the development of endogenous resources and facilitate direct learning of the territory’s historical, cultural, environmental and landscaping assets. Rural areas can be strongly influenced by setting up a greenways network, as their use not only promotes the exchange of knowledge between users and inhabitants, but also encourages the enjoyment of various areas (agricultural landscapes, scattered cultural heritage, protected environments) that would otherwise be inaccessible due to their distance from the traditional routes. Altogether, this favours the introduction of economic activities based on their typical characteristics. This work identifies the appropriate road infrastructure, available in the former Province of Syracuse (East Sicily), for building greenways networks that will best contribute to the valorisation of their surrounding territory. This work assigns great importance to landscape features as factors of tourist and cultural attraction. We have used the multi-criteria analysis associated with geographic information system (GIS). We have weighed and mapped numerous indicators to define the territory’s infrastructural, landscape, cultural, and tourist resources, meaning those able to increase the use of the territory and/or that determine attractiveness for the population. The GIS analysis allowed us to develop numerous intermediate maps, whose information helped us to draw up the final map illustrating the suitability of the existing infrastructures that could be useful while planning of a greenway network. Such infrastructures could be the subject of specific plans or detailed projects aimed at enhancing the pre-existing resources of a rural territory. This study, although referring to a defined territory, is methodologically valid in a general sense and can be used in various contexts.
Historical routes; abandoned railways; rural landscape; geographic information system; analytic hierarchy process.