The aim of this work is to contribute to the definition of an analytical approach for evaluating the dynamics in progress in the agricultural and rural development at a territorial level. For this purpose principal components analysis and cluster analysis were applied and the different methodological approaches reviewed. A two-stage method is also proposed. This could provide the analytical tools to simplify and interpret the results of the territorial analyses, also in order to supply a flexible instrument to policy-makers. A case-study on the Emilia-Romagna region, in Italy, is presented.