The Riviera perspective

Throughout the last decade Albania has been claiming its spot in the Mediterranean touristic panorama. Tourism represents one of the main challenges and greatest opportunities for the country, due to its fast and positive impact on the economy countrywide but the risks of local natural resources being exploited are high.

Due to such development, a significant part of the dissertation focuses on the creation of a solid state of art observed from three points of view: tourism geography, the history of tourism and economy. The dissertation in fact provides a complete overview on the evolution of tourism over the last century, the contextualization of Albania’s specific case on a worldwide geographic scale and a reflection of the impact tourism has on the national economy.

Visual timeline of the images used for promoting Albania. (i) Sketches of Kruja’s landscape by Edward Lear, 1898. Source: Destani (2008); (ii) Picture of a bridge in Shkodër, used to promote tourism during the 1930s. Source: Disho (1937); (iii) Cover of the tourism magazine DRINI – rivista mensile del turismo albanese (1942); (iv) Beach of Durrës in 1960s. Source: Albturist (1958); (v) Photo of everyday life in an Albanian town accompanying article on tourism in the magazine Europe, 1989. Source: Liebe (1989); (vi) Frame of the promotional video “Albania: Go Your Own Way”. Source: R&T Advertising (2015)

This research aims to explore the relationship between landscape and tourism in coastal regions, addressing the overall research question concerning the possibility of defining a tourism model that positively impacts southern Albania’s coastal landscapes. Therefore, the theoretical framework ranges from tourism models to landscape and ecology theories. The most well-known tourism models – chosen for their similarities to the main case study in terms of scale and resources – are presented and analyzed so as to settle the basis for the design of a new one.

The “bubble model” proposed for the Albanian Riviera / elaborated by Enrico Porfido

At first, southern Albania’s touristic landscapes and spaces – in terms of quality and impact of tourism – were analyzed to frame their evolution and single out critical issues. Upon making comparisons with other Mediterranean cases it was seen that they supported the choices made in the final part, in which a “bubble model” is described and transferred from theory to practice with the proposal of a Riviera Protected Landscape Park establishment. The conclusion provides input for further research and opens up a discussion about the need to re-interpret the concept of conservation and protection.


Porfido, E. (2019) From the Grand Tour to Social Media: The metamorphosis of touristic landscapes representation in the case of Albania. In Pié et al (2019) “Turismo y Paisaje” (96-109). Valencia: Tirant humanidades. · download

Porfido, E. (2019 – in press) Landscape Parks as protection, valorization and territory promotion devices. The case of the Albanian Riviera and the “bubble” model. In the proceedings of the national conference “XXII Conferenza Nazionale Società Urbanisti Italiani”. Planum Publisher: Bari, 5-7 June 2019.

Porfido, E. (2018) Tourism for Landscape / the new Seman National Natural Reserve. Tourism and protected areas as possible combination for territorial development, protection and valorisation. In: “When a river flows into the sea: the central role of Albania in the Adriatic-Ionian region” (156-165). POLIS press: Tirana. · download

Niented, P.; Porfido, E., Ciro, A. (2018) Sustainable tourism development in Albania in times of liquid modernity. In Cavicchi, A. (2018) “Enhancing sustainable tourism in Adriatic-Ionian region through co-creation: the role of universities and public-private partnerships.” (73-91) Edizioni Università di Macerata: Macerata. · download

Porfido, E. (2017) Tourism as Economic Resource for Protecting the Landscape: Introducing Touristic Initiatives in Protected Areas of Albania. In the proceedings of the international conference “AESOP Annual Congress 2017 – Space of dialog for places of dignity. Fostering the European Dimension of Planning” (2141-2147). Lisbona, 11-14, July 2017. · download

Rossi, L., Pedata, L., Porfido, E., Resta, G. (2017) Between LAND and WATER. Fragile edges and floating strategies along the Albanian coastline. The Plan Journal, Volume 2/2017 – Issue 2, Pagg: 685-705. · download

“From isolation to ‘pleasure periphery’: the Riviera perspective. A tourism model for South Albania’s coastal landscapes” is the PhD thesis in Landscape Architecture authored by Enrico Porfido and tutored by Luca Emanueli – Ferrara University, Besnik Aliaj – POLIS University and the external expert Ricard Pié – UPC Barcelona.

The PhD thesis was defended in 2019 in the framework of the IDAUP – International Doctorate in Architecture and Urban Planning program of Ferrara University and POLIS University. More information are available here.