While researching beautiful, cultural, and historic places to visit on vacation, you may have come across the phrase “UNESCO World Heritage Site” more than once. But what exactly is a “UNESCO World Heritage Site” and why are those sites supposedly worth visiting?
UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. It is an organization that was founded in 1945 after the official end of the Second World War. Their mission is to build international security and encourage world peace through continuous education of the arts, sciences, and cultures. UNESCO seeks to preserve the beauty and history of certain locations by denoting them as “World Heritage Sites”. World Heritage Sites are determined by their “outstanding universal value to humanity”.
Not entirely surprising given Italy’s long and rich history, Italy is home to the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are 58 sites throughout the country, many of which are easily accessible from the most popular destination sites for international travelers. We at LagoBlu Travel are happy to help plan a trip to see any Italian UNESCO World Heritage Site that piques your interest.
Sites near Rome, Lazio;
Did you know that the city of Rome itself is considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Within the boundaries of the World Heritage site in the historic city center are the Roman Forums, the Mausoleums of Augustus and Hadrian, the majestic Pantheon, Trajan’s Column and the Column of Marcus Aurelius, and all of the properties that make up the extraterritorial Vatican City. This entire site is enclosed by the ancient city walls of Rome. The capital city of Rome has a diverse history that dates back to antiquity. For this reason, some of the greatest historic ruins, preserved artworks, and treasured architectural achievements are located in this city.
Other Must-See Sites in the Region: the Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia, Villa d’Este, and Villa Adriana.
Sites near Venice, Veneto;
The city of Venice and its lagoon also make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is a conglomerate of 118 small islands, connected by waterways and crossable with waterbuses and beautiful walking bridges. Venice is celebrated by UNESCO for its innovative foundation, architectural developments, and the great artistic works on display in nearly every single building. Some of the greatest architectural works in the city are found in just one piazza, the Piazza San Marco. On the piazza lies the basilica of San Marco, the Palazzo Ducale, and Museo Correr Procuratie Vecchie.
Other Must-See Sites in the Region: the City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto, and Padua’s 14th century fresco cycles.
Sites near Florence, Tuscany;
Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is also a World Heritage Site. The historic city center is easily walkable due to its small size. Famed artworks by the greatest artists of the Renaissance are on display in its two world-renowned art museums: the Uffizi Galleries and the Accademia Gallery. Here you can view live and in person the massive statue, David, by Michelangelo, and the beautiful Birth of Venus painting by Botticelli. Throughout the city you can find architectural masterpieces by Giotto and Brunelleschi, most notably, their additions to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
Other Must-See Sites in the Region: the Medici Villas and Gardens, the Historic Centre of San Gimignano, the Historic Center of Siena, and the Piazza del Duomo in Pisa – which includes its legendarily leaning tower.
Sites near Naples, Campania;
Naples and the nearby Amalfi coast are popular destinations. Both destinations are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The historic city center of Naples was originally founded by the Greeks, giving it a unique history in comparison to other Italian cities. Nearby, the Amalfi Coast has also been denoted as a World Heritage Site. This beautiful coastline features steep hillsides and stunning sea views. The region is speckled with quaint paesini (small towns) and examples of agriturismo (agriculture-based tourist destinations).
Other Must-See Sites in the Region: the Archeological Areas of Pompeii (which is also perfectly located for a visit to the source of Pompeii’s doom: Mount Vesuvius) and the 18th Century Royal Palace at Caserta.
Other Favorite UNESCO World Heritage Sites;
As early as the Paleolithic period, there has been proof of inhabitation in the park of Sassi di Matera. This web of buildings, including homes and churches alike, were built out of naturally occurring caves.
The legendary masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper, is housed on the wall of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Both the painting and the church can be dated back to the mid- to late-1400s.
The royal Duke of Savoy built his command center in Turin during his time of reign. He and his successors erected and utilized 22 different buildings for the purpose of commanding and residing within the city of Turin and the surrounding countryside. The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy are luxurious pieces of culture and prime examples of the greatest architecture at the time of construction.
Within the city of Bologna, there are covered sidewalks. The famous Porticoes of Bologna lend to a unique walking path as you stroll through the city center. The porticoes are not only architecturally beautiful, but also allow visitors to walk in the shade and under cover from rain.
Italy has five listed natural World Heritage sites, meaning they are denoted a site because they are precious aspects of nature. Two of Italy’s must-see natural beauties include the Dolomites, the grand mountain range to the north, and Mount Etna, the famous volcano in Sicily.
LagoBlu Travel is ready to plan an exciting trip for you and your travel companions to see the greatest sites Italy has to offer. We sincerely hope you are excited to visit some of the country’s cultural, historical, and natural treasures.
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