Italy is abundant in art, heritage, and culture and is home to 51 UNESCO World Heritage Sites which is 5% of the global list of UNESCO. With another 40 sites under consideration, let’s look into 16 beautiful UNESCO sites that the Italy holds which are full of history and wonderment.
Founded in the 5th century, Venice is a bucket list destination for most tourists visiting Italy. However, the city is more beautiful and photogenic than the description is books and films. The city of canals is spread over 118 small islands is a brilliant showcase of architecture. The cultural heritage that this city holds is beyond imagination, from the churches to depictions of Heaven being painted on the ceilings of the building, this city is an architectural masterpiece. Venice is an inseparable part and symbolic of the Italian power and grandeur.
The mountain ranges comprise of 18 peaks that rise up 3,000 meters and are considered to be one of the most beautiful landscapes. The northern Italian Alps that cover 141,903 of land, purely comprise of cliffs with deep and narrow valleys. The rocks appear to change their shades upon sunset and the range of color varies from prink to orange and even fiery red sometimes. This display of change in color is so famous that it’s been given its own name i.e. alpenglow. Also known as the “Pale Mountains” this site is a region where three different cultures – Italy, Germany, and native Ladin are seen intermingling.
A coastal area with great natural diversity that has been inhabited by communities since the early Middle Ages, Amalfi coast holds the architectural and artistic significance of a great deal. You would have seen the coast a backdrop of a lot of movies but to truly witness the Mediterranean beauty you need to absorb into the landscape slowly. The area consists of 13 towns with each one being photogenic in its own way. The site allows showcases optimum usage of the diverse terrain with terraced orchards and vineyards.
PIAZZA DEL DUOMO, PISA:
Another bucket list place to visit, Piazza del Duomo is set over the lush green field and comprises four major masterpieces of medieval art i.e. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Cathedral, Composanto (graveyard) and Baptistry. All of these monuments hold significant influence in Italy’s monumental art. Built from white marble these are views to be an outstanding work of Christian medieval architecture and represent the Eastern, early Christian, Lombard styles.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREAS OF POMPEI, HERCULANEUM AND TORRE ANNUNZIATA:
On 24th August AD 79, Vesuvius erupted and molten lava covered the entire surrounding area. The three communities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Annunziata remained buried under rocks and ash until they were discovered in the 16th century and finally made open to public visits in the mid 18th century. These communities now stand as a monument of the moment when the Vesuvius volcano had burst and also how powerful nature can be. The site gives a detailed and valuable insight into Italy’s past.
BOTANICAL GARDEN, PADUA:
The world’s first botanical garden that dates back to 1545 still preserves its original layout and serves as a center for scientific research fulling its original purpose. The layout of the garden comprised of a central circular plot that is symbolic of the world surrounded by water. The garden also hosts a library which holds 50,000 volumes and manuscripts that are of bibliographic and historic importance. There is also a herbarium present within the garden premises and its the second most extensive herbarium in Italy.
CENTRE OF ROME:
The most popular place in the country of Italy with a footfall of 4.3 million visitors every year, Rome is definitely a bucket-list-worthy destination. The city was founded by Romulus and Remus in 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber and presently the city is enlisted with UNESCO. The entire city from the city walls that back to the 17th century to the Basilica of St. Paul’s is a part of the protected property and is also regarded at the birthplace of European civilization. The historic center of Rome is home to various antique monuments like the Mausoleums of Augustus and Hadrian, the Column of Marcus Aurelius, etc.
RHAETIAN RAILWAY, ALUBA/ BERNINA LANDSCAPES:
Our next Italian site is not exactly a site, rather its a train ride that is regarded as the most remarkable train journey in the world. Completed and opened in 1904 the Rhaetian Railway showcases impressive engineering as it makes way through wide valleys and mountain passes to connect Italy to Switzerland. Apart from traveling through the scenic alps, covered galleries, and tunnels the railway also has helped improve the economy of the mountain community and has brought an end to their isolation.
Most of us have seen the beautiful picture of colorful houses clinging together between the mountain and the sea. Cinque Terre which means ‘five lands’ is an establishment of five villages namely, Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia, Riomaggiore, and Monterosso al Mare lying within the Cinque Terre National Park, Italy. The villages date back to a hundred years and are remotely located that the only way to connect to them is through difficult trails or train.
CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DELLE GRAZIE (THE LAST SUPPER):
Also known as the church of St. Mary of the Graces, this Dominican convent in Italy houses a masterpiece – The Last Supper painted by Leonardo Da Vinci between 1495 and 1497. The painting stands to be the most recognized and celebrated piece of artwork and heightens the glory of Church Santa Maria Delle to a legendary level. Located on the church’s north wall the painting The Last Supper indicates the beginning of a new era in the history of art.
VINEYARD LANDSCAPE OF PIEDMONT:
A 25,000-acre piece of land that lies between the Ligurian Apennines and the Po River in southern Piedmont is famous for its long spell of vine production and consumption. The people that reside in this region have been producing and consuming wine for more than two millennia now and their production techniques and the system have not changed even one bit. This place definitely calls for special attention when it comes to history and culture of wine production. The region remains largely undiscovered and hence not spoilt much providing a very beautiful and clean landscape to behold.
HISTORIC CENTRE OF FLORENCE:
Being abundant in art and architecture, the city of Florence in Italy rose to fame in the 15th and 16th centuries under the Medici and is the symbol of the Renaissance. The birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci, the city is filled with creativity and heritage to the brim acting like a living archive of both Italian and European culture. The city was founded in 59 BC and is one of the first Italian World Heritage Sites. The city has remained nearly unchanged since the era of the Renaissance and is one in a kind of city to visit.
SASSI DE MATERA:
Our next site in Italy looks like to be an amalgamation of Gondor (Lord of the Rings) and Bedrock City (Flintstones) and is located in the southern part of Italy. Until the late 20th century the town was looked upon to be a shame to Italy because of the backward livelihood of its people. They lived in caves and there was no electricity, running water or a sewage system in place. It’s largely believed the caves were inhabited 9,000 years ago and the city stands to be a popular tourist destination as one can sleep and eat in these very caves.
The most unique town in the entire of Italy comprises of the cutest little houses named the Trulli. Located near to Bari, the Trulli is unlike any traditional style of a house. The Trulli sport a roof made of grey stone shaped like a cone with the house-made in a circular manner and the color of the house is always white. Surprisingly, the stones that form the roof stick together without the slightest use of mortar. There is an age-old secret technique that helps bind the stones together. To keep the town spotless and white the houses are whitewashed each year.
The archipelago of seven islands along with a few islets rose from the sea after volcanic activity and continue to play an informative role in the science of volcanology. The islands comprise of Vulcano, Stromboli, Lipari, Panarea, Salina, Alicudi and Filicudi. The islands of Vulcano and Stromboli still have a few active volcanoes that never lets one forget the origin of these islands. The archipelago has been known to exist since prior to the 4th century BC and has been named after the Greek god of wind Aeolus. The group of islands looks more stunning against the cobalt sea that surrounds it.
Towering over the eastern Sicily, Mount Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe and is a highlight on a trip to Sicily. It still emits smoke and sometimes even molten lava down its slopes and has attracted a lot of tourists. The slopes of Etna since 1987 have been a part of a national park that has varied landscapes from vineyards, snow-capped mountains to beach woods, and even desserts. Etna is not a sight worth seeing it also poses a lot of information about the geological processes.
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