Did you know that there are 58 Unesco sites in Italy? In this article we’ll name some historic city centers apart from those better known (Roma, Florence, Naples and some others of the best cities in Italy) and also coastlines and mountain ranges whose views are, without exaggeration, breathtaking
1. HISTORIC CENTER OF SAN GIMIGNANO
The Tuscan comune of San Gimignano is one of the world heritage sites in Italy. Unesco declared its historic center as such because of a group of towers dating back to the 13th century that made the city deserve the “Middle-Ages Manhattan” and also the “Town of Fine Towers” nicknames. They were 72 at first and now about 14 are still standing. The oldest of all, Torre Rognosa, was built toward 1200 and is nearly 52 meters tall. Other towers (torri) are: Torre Grossa (highest tower, built up to 54 meters). Torre del Diavolo, Torre di Palazzo Pellari, Torre dei Salvucci, etc.
2. THE SASSI OF MATERA
One of the most singular Unesco sites in Italy, it is a group of Paleolithic buildings making up the historic center of Matera (in the Basilicata region); these constructions are carved in the very rocky landscape from very ancient, prehistoric times (sasso, pl. sassi, means “stone, rock” in Italian). Many of these houses remain inhabited and have been from the Bronze era. Objects found inside the building date from at least 13,000 years BC. The Sassi of Matera were the first Southern Italian place to be acknowledged as world heritage, in 1993.
3. THE TRULLI OF ALBEROBELLO
The trulli are very peculiar, conically roofed limestone huts with y typical from Alberobello, en Apulia (Puglia). Because of a decree from some counts, according to which building new houses would have brought upon new taxes, mortar is not used as a construction material. The biggest trullo in the country is Trullo Suvrano, commissioned by the Perta family in midst 13th century. It has two stories and it has been turned into a museum.
4. AMALFI COAST
Unesco incorporates the Amalfi Coast, also located in Campania, Southern Italy, among the world heritage sites, not just because of its impressive coastline landscape but also the architectonic solutions built there blending with nature without altering it. It belonged to the Roman Empire and its area spreads over quite a number of kilometers, from Positano (Naples) to Vietri Sul Mare (Salerno).
5. ARCHEOLOGICAL AREAS OF POMPEI AND HERCULANEUM
Both sites are well known because of having been in the path of the Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD. Excavations have brought the best conserved Roman city back to the surface. Due to the eruption’s lava burying it all, artifacts and even eating habits are now known to us. In 2016 it reached over 3 million visitors and that number promises just to keep going up.
6. ARCHEOLOGICAL AREA OF AGRIGENTO
Placed in Sicily, Agrigento used to be a Greek colony, and over this valley can be found several Doric temples.
7. CITY OF VERONA
In Western Veneto, Verona is famous because is the Italian city where the Shakesperean drama Romeo and Juliet takes place. It became one of the Unesco sites in 2000, and it is considered città d’arte under Italian standards. The Roman Amphitheatre, the Roman Gate, and the Gothic Scaliger Tombs stand out as architectural wonders.
8. THE CITY OF VICENZA AND THE PALLADIAN VILLAS OF THE VENETO
Also located in the Veneto region, Vicenza has its origin in prehistoric times and was one of La Serenissima’s (Republic of Venice) territories. Here, the highlight is the architectural works of Andrea Palladio (1508-1590), which were palazzi and Ville so impressive that Goethe was not able to not praise them. Of importance are the Palazzo Barbaran da Porto, the Palazzo or Loggia del Capitano, Palazzo Chericati, and many others.
9. PORTO VENERE AND CINQUE TERRE
Located in Northwestern La Spezia, in the Ligurian region, Porto Venere is a small town that along with the Cinque Terre (the Five Lands) became a world heritage site because it shows how humans have shaped the landscape over more than a thousand years. The five sites between the Ligurian Sea and the Apenines are: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
10. THE DOLOMITES
These mountains are shared by the regions of Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. They comprise a wider mountain range, the Southeastern section of the Alps, and are formerly known as the Pale Mounts. The Dolomites highest point is the Marmolada, which has an elevation of 3342 m; a serious number of mountains placed here go over a height of 3,000 meters. The Tre Cime di Lavaredo are iconic rocks from this world heritage.
If you want to know more about the Unesco sites in Italy click here.