Basilica of St Anthony is part of Padua's World Heritage Sites. Image Author: Comune di Padova, Gabinetto Fotografico dei Musei Civici di Padova Copyright: © Comune di Padova Settore Cultura, Turismo, Musei e Biblioteche

UNESCO’s decisions on World Heritage Sites are good news for Italy

Culture News

At its extended 44th session, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee did not add Venice to the endangered list. However, Padua’s 14th century fresco cycles join the World Heritage Sites.

Venice escaped inclusion on UNESCO’s endangered list after the government banned cruise ships from docking in the lagoon city, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said Thursday.

 “Thanks to the government’s decision to stop big ships passing in front of St Mark’s and down the Giudecca Canal we have achieved a first, important result,” said Franceschini after the UN body’s heritage committee decision.

“Now, global attention on Venice must remain high and it a duty of everyone to work for the protection of the lagoon and find a path of sustainable development for this unique reality, in which culture and the creative industry are called to play a protagonist’s role”.

Venice has been in the news a lot this month, firstly with the return of cruise liners, then UNESCO’s consideration of its status on the Heritage List, and finally news of a Roman road and dock discovered under the lagoon.

Padua frescoes inscribed on World Heritage List

Palazzo della Ragione, interior. Image Author: Comune di Padova, Gabinetto Fotografico dei Musei Civici di Padova Copyright: © Comune di Padova Settore Cultura, Turismo, Musei e Biblioteche
Palazzo della Ragione, interior. Copyright: © Comune di Padova Settore Cultura, Turismo, Musei e Biblioteche

Padua’s nomination for inclusion on the heritage list was given the thumbs up from the committee yesterday.

The site is composed of eight religious and secular building complexes, within the historic walled city of Padua. They house a selection of fresco cycles painted between 1302 and 1397 by different artists for different types of patron and within buildings of diverse functions.

UNESCO summarise the nomination as follows.

‘Nevertheless, the frescos maintain a unity of style and content. They include Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel fresco cycle, considered to have marked the beginning of a revolutionary development in the history of mural painting, as well as other fresco cycles of different artists, namely Guariento di Arpo, Giusto de’ Menabuoi, Altichiero da Zevio, Jacopo Avanzi and Jacopo da Verona. As a group, these fresco cycles illustrate how, over the course of a century, fresco art developed along a new creative impetus and understanding of spatial representation.’

The Great Spa Towns of Europe – Montecatini

Town hall, interior - Montecatini Author: Foto Rosellini Copyright: © Comune Montecatini Terme
Town hall, interior – Montecatini Montecatini Town Hall Copyright: © Comune Montecatini Terme

The transnational site of The Great Spa Towns of Europe comprises 11 towns, located in seven European countries. Italy’s spa town of Montecatini was included in the list.

UNESCO described the nomination as follows.

‘All of these towns developed around natural mineral water springs. They bear witness to the international European spa culture that developed from the early 18th century to the 1930s, leading to the emergence of grand international resorts that impacted urban typology around ensembles of spa buildings such as the kurhaus and kursaal (buildings and rooms dedicated to therapy), pump rooms, drinking halls, colonnades and galleries designed to harness the natural mineral water resources and to allow their practical use for bathing and drinking. Related facilities include gardens, assembly rooms, casinos, theatres, hotels and villas, as well as spa-specific support infrastructure. These ensembles are all integrated into an overall urban context that includes a carefully managed recreational and therapeutic environment in a picturesque landscape. Together, these sites embody the significant interchange of human values and developments in medicine, science and balneology.’

The inscription of sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List is scheduled to continue through 28 July.

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