The present paper describes a research that, based on the evolutionary data of the urban settlement over a period of half a century, shows the changes undergone by the various landscape categories of Southern Italy. The regions involved are four (Campania, Basilicata, Puglia and Calabria) and share renowned urban, economic and social issues such as unauthorised development, low income per capita and organised crime. All this has produced profound transformations on some of the most important and rare Italian landscapes, such as coastal plains and coastal carbonate slabs. Uncontrolled urban sprawl has further provoked an environmental crisis and eco-friendly insularisation of the yet numerous and valuable protected areas of this geographical area, thus leading to a high density of buildings and infrastructures even in national parks, breaking European records in this respect. Through finalised indicators, the characteristics of the evolution occurred have been analytically highlighted, and by using the latest generation satellite data, it is shown how such phenomena have continued to take place with significant energy over the last few years. The result is a picture of environmental threats still very prominent in this southern extremity of the peninsula, above all towards those naturalistic qualities and landscapes that are the main attractions of an intense national and international tourism whose income, however, has not been conveyed in a correct and inclusive way to allow high-level socio-economic conditions of the resident population.
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