Starting with a geo-historical research for a specific case study, this paper proposes a reflection which focuses on nature protection and management of commons. In particular, the study is dedicated to the Bosco delle Sorti della Partecipanza, a remnant of lowland forest located along the left bank of the Po, in the province of Vercelli (Piedmont), which derives its current form from a common use of the territory that originated in the Middle Ages and survived until the present day. This is of particular interest given the recent acknowledgment at regional level of this space as a protected area. This new development has created a disconnect in the land’s management, without challenging the right to the common use of the forest as an economic resource. Conservation and utilization objectives have therefore combined to generate a unique experience aimed at preserving the ecological qualities of the forest itself. The relationship between the Partecipanza and the Park is sometimes contentious, but still generates a positive process that can be considered as a unique form of territorialisation, redefining the meaning of the common land by bringing it up to date. The case study therefore provides elements of interest that may lead us to reflect on the potential usefulness of commons in contemporary Italian society.
Keywords: Commons, Piedmont, protected areas