Rural buildings play a central role on the environmental characteristics of the extra-urban land. They accompanied in the centuries the development of agricultural activities by humans, who was so able to breed cattle, to grow and yield crops, and to store, transform and process agricultural products in a functional and efficient way, working into intensive conditions, so being unaffected by the external climate. On the other hand, constructions built by the farmer-man marked the territory, influencing and steering the spontaneous development of nature, while leading to production that enabled humanity to get food. Vernacular farm buildings, often used as seasonal settlements, are in some cases organised in areas of mountain pasture for summer cattle grazing. Even if in most case they were abandoned during recent years - since people living there moved to more comfortable residences within urban settlements - their contemporary potential for preserving traditional cattle-raising procedures and dairy products, rich cultural-historical heritage and perspectives of organised tourism activities, appears a very intriguing task to be approached. Rural tourism - including agro-, eco- and cultural tourism - offers indeed new opportunities for enjoying the extra-urban land in close contact with naturally untouched landscapes. It enables to appreciate some traditional aspects that the new industrialised modern society may have forgotten. The opportunities offered by rural tourism could help in the development of environmentally friendly tourism, which is growing three times faster than those choosing mainstream trips. With the aim to valorise the vernacular rural buildings in some mountain areas of the Adriatic-Ionian macro-region, in the present paper a first approach was proposed, through the implementation of a geographical information system aimed to survey the current situation into two different mountain areas within this macro-region, located in Southern Italy and Montenegro. This first step could pave the way for future possible planning the restoration of these buildings, within the general framework of a concerted approach aimed to their safeguard and the general sustainability of their landscape inclusion, fighting the progressive abandonment of rural land. The exploitation of their unexpressed potential in the sector of tourism usage, together with cultural and historical heritage, rich tradition and old infrastructure, would therefore reveal an interesting profitable way for their valorisation.
Vernacular farm buildings; mountain areas; rural tourism; geographical information system; Adriatic-Ionian macro-region.