The task of the ancient topography scholar is similar to the urban planner’s. The first integrates the second because is able to decipher man’s work on territories, to recognize the ‘shape’ man gave to spatial organisation. The study of ancient topography uses a wide documentary base which starts from comparative analysis of ancient literary sources and comes to the interpretation of cognitive data. It provides an historicized and never trivial vision of the territory, by using a scientific method always reproducible in its phases. The corpora of the territorial invariants on which the future projects of human spaces are built start just from the knowledge of such methods: issues such as territorial governance are the core business of the discipline, which has then important effects on planning, also as regards conservation and valorisation. The historic interpretation of territorial and landscape evolution is inescapable in planning strategic scenarios of coexistence with the irreproducible resources around us. If during the XX century the will to make autonomous every knowledge produced an intra-disciplinary improvement of research methodologies, it also entailed an extension of research fields which challenges, moves or flusters the boundaries of different disciplines. In this sense, the methodological autonomy of historic topography can be received by regional planning.
ancient topography; planning; urban environment; territorial governance; territorial invariants