This essay presents an account of recent environmental history of medieval Italy, focusing on its potential and limitations. Interest in the science and techniques relating to the "chronological measurability" of natural objects and processes is a recent addition to historical research in Italy. The stimulus for such research comes mainly from the Anglosphere, where the natural sciences and history have already had a long period of engagement. In our country, on the other hand, a certain measure of circumspection seems to have characterized this possible symbiosis. The history of the medieval environment has therefore been expressed principally through that of the landscape, or of agriculture, or perhaps through the history of human impact on the environment. Very little attention has been paid to the paradigm that posits man as an integrating element of the environment, linked to it by a two-way relationship; one to be analyzed according to a perspective that is neither anthropocentric nor deterministic. A new approach in this regard may perhaps be offered to medieval studies through a historical-environmental analysis based on the identification of the ecosystem services offered by the territory; that is, of the resources that the environment as a whole was able to provide to satisfy the material and spiritual needs of medieval people.
Keywords: Medieval history, environmental history, nature, paleosciences, catastrophe, ecosystem services