UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy


UNESCO Logo - Worlds Heritage Sites Italy

Italy dominates the World Heritage Sites list, according to UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural branch. It has 43 locations listed considered as places of outstanding cultural and historical value. This is more than any other European country and practically all major styles of Western architecture can be found in Italy.



Here are the Italian sites that have been placed by UNESCO on its Heritage List :

Liguria - World Heritage Sites

Ligueia Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Liguria Italy Liguria - World Heritage Sites



  • Portovenere, Cinque Terre , and the Islands of Palmaria , Tino and Tinetto
    Date of Listing: 1997
    The Ligurian coast between Cinque Terre and Portovenere is a cultural landscape of great scenic and cultural value. The layout and location of the small towns and the shaping of the surrounding landscape, overcoming the disadvantages of a steep, uneven terrain, encapsulate the continuous history of human settlement in this region over the past millennium.


Lombardia - World Heritage Sites

Lombardia Lombardy Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Lombardia ItalyLombardia - World Heritage Sites



  • Rock Drawings in Valcamonica
    Date of Listing: 1979
    Valcamonica, situated in the Lombardy plain, has one of the world's greatest collections of prehistoric petroglyphs – more than 140,000 symbols and figures carved in the rock over a period of 8,000 years and depicting themes connected with agriculture, navigation, war and magic.

  • Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci - Milano
    Date of Listing: 1980
    The refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie forms an integral part of this architectural complex, begun in Milan in 1463 and reworked at the end of the 15th century by Bramante. On the north wall is The Last Supper, the unrivalled masterpiece painted between 1495 and 1497 by Leonardo da Vinci, whose work was to herald a new era in the history of art.

  • Crespi d'Adda - Capriate
    Date of Listing:1995
    Crespi d'Adda in Capriate San Gervasio is an outstanding example of the 19th- and early 20th-century 'company towns' built in Europe and North America by enlightened industrialists to meet the workers' needs. The site is still remarkably intact and is partly used for industrial purposes, although changing economic and social conditions now threaten its survival.

  • Sacri Monti
    Date of Listing:2003
    The nine Sacri of northern Italy are groups of chapels and other architectural features created in the late 16th and 17th centuries and dedicated to different aspects of the Christian faith. In addition to their symbolic spiritual meaning, they are of great beauty by virtue of the skill with which they have been integrated into the surrounding natural landscape of hills, forests and lakes. They also house much important artistic material in the form of wall paintings and statuary.



Piemonte - World Heritage Sites

Piemonte Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Piemonte Italy Piemonte - World Heritage Sites



  • The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy in Turin
    Date of Listing: 1997
    When Emmanuel-Philibert, Duke of Savoy, moved his capital to Turin in 1562, he began a vast series of building projects (continued by his successors) to demonstrate the power of the ruling house. This outstanding complex of buildings, designed and embellished by the leading architects and artists of the time, radiates out into the surrounding countryside from the Royal Palace in the 'Command Area' of Turin to include many country residences and hunting lodges.

  • Sacri Monti
    Date of Listing:2003
    The nine Sacri of northern Italy are groups of chapels and other architectural features created in the late 16th and 17th centuries and dedicated to different aspects of the Christian faith. In addition to their symbolic spiritual meaning, they are of great beauty by virtue of the skill with which they have been integrated into the surrounding natural landscape of hills, forests and lakes. They also house much important artistic material in the form of wall paintings and statuary.



Friuli-Venezia Giulia - World Heritage Sites

Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy



  • Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia
    Date of Listing: 1998
    Aquileia (in Friuli-Venezia Giulia), one of the largest and wealthiest cities of the Early Roman Empire, was destroyed by Attila in the mid-5th century. Most of it still lies unexcavated beneath the fields, and as such it constitutes the greatest archaeological reserve of its kind. The patriarchal basilica, an outstanding building with an exceptional mosaic pavement, played a key role in the evangelization of a large region of central Europe.



Veneto - World Heritage Sites

Vaneto Venice Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Veneto Italy Veneto - World Heritage Sites



  • Venice and its Lagoon
    Date of Listing: 1987
    Founded in the 5th century and spread over 118 small islands, Venice became a major maritime power in the 10th century. The whole city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the world's greatest artists such as Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and others.

  • City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas
    Date of Listing: 1994
    Founded in the 2nd century B.C. in northern Italy, Vicenza prospered under Venetian rule from the early 15th to the end of the 18th century. The work of Andrea Palladio (1508–80), based on a detailed study of classical Roman architecture, gives the city its unique appearance. Palladio's urban buildings, as well as his villas, scattered throughout the Veneto region, had a decisive influence on the development of architecture. His work inspired a distinct architectural style known as Palladian, which spread to England and other European countries, and also to North America.

  • The Botanical Garden, Orto Botanico - Padua
    Date of Listing:1997
    The world's first botanical garden was created in Padua in 1545. It still preserves its original layout – a circular central plot, symbolizing the world, surrounded by a ring of water. Other elements were added later, some architectural (ornamental entrances and balustrades) and some practical (pumping installations and greenhouses). It continues to serve its original purpose as a centre for scientific research.

  • City of Verona
    Date of Listing:2000
    The historic city of Verona was founded in the 1st century B.C. It particularly flourished under the rule of the Scaliger family in the 13th and 14th centuries and as part of the Republic of Venice from the 15th to 18th centuries. Verona has preserved a remarkable number of monuments from antiquity, the medieval and Renaissance periods, and represents an outstanding example of a military stronghold.



Emilia Romagna - World Heritage Sites

Emilia Romagna Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Emilia Romagna Italy Emilia Romagna - World Heritage Sites



  • Ferrara, City of the Renaissance and its Po Delta
    Date of Listing: 1995
    Ferrara, which grew up around a ford over the River Po, became an intellectual and artistic centre that attracted the greatest minds of the Italian Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. Here, Piero della Francesca, Jacopo Bellini and Andrea Mantegna decorated the palaces of the House of Este. The humanist concept of the 'ideal city' came to life here in the neighborhoods built from 1492 onwards by Biagio Rossetti according to the new principles of perspective. The completion of this project marked the birth of modern town planning and influenced its subsequent development.

  • The Early Christian Monuments and Mosaics of Ravenna
    Date of Listing: 1996
    Ravenna was the seat of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and then of Byzantine Italy until the 8th century. It has a unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments. All eight buildings – the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe – were constructed in the 5th and 6th centuries. They show great artistic skill, including a wonderful blend of Greco-Roman tradition, Christian iconography and oriental and Western styles.

  • The Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande - Modena
    Date of Listing:1997
    The magnificent 12th-century cathedral at Modena, the work of two great artists (Lanfranco and Wiligelmus), is a supreme example of early Romanesque art. With its piazza and soaring tower, it testifies to the faith of its builders and the power of the Canossa dynasty who commissioned it.



Marche - World Heritage Sites

Marche Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Marche Italy Marche - World Heritage Sites



  • Historic Centre of Urbino
    Date of Listing: 1998
    The small hill town of Urbino, in the Marche, experienced a great cultural flowering in the 15th century, attracting artists and scholars from all over Italy and beyond, and influencing cultural developments elsewhere in Europe. Owing to its economic and cultural stagnation from the 16th century onwards, it has preserved its Renaissance appearance to a remarkable extent.



Toscana - World Heritage Sites

Toscana Tuscany Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Toscana Tuscany Italy Toscana - World Heritage Sites



  • Historic Centre of Florence
    Date of Listing: 1982
    Built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence, the symbol of the Renaissance, rose to economic and cultural preeminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity can be seen above all in the 13th-century cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore), the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace, the work of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo.

  • Piazza del Duomo - Pisa
    Date of Listing: 1987
    Standing in a large green expanse, Piazza del Duomo houses a group of monuments known the world over. These four masterpieces of medieval architecture – the cathedral, the baptistery, the campanile (the 'Leaning Tower') and the cemetery – had a great influence on monumental art in Italy from the 11th to the 14th century.

  • Historic Centre of San Gimignano
    Date of Listing:1990
    'San Gimignano delle belle Torri' is in Tuscany, 56 km south of Florence. It served as an important relay point for pilgrims traveling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena. The patrician families who controlled the town built around 72 towerhouses (some as high as 50 m) as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance. The town also has several masterpieces of 14th- and 15th-century Italian art.

  • Historic Centre of Siena
    Date of Listing:1995
    Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city. Its inhabitants pursued their rivalry with Florence right into the area of urban planning. Throughout the centuries, they preserved their city's Gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period the work of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini was to influence the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art. The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape.

  • The Historic Centre of the City of Pienza
    Date of Listing:1996
    It was in this Tuscan town that Renaissance town-planning concepts were first put into practice after Pope Pius II decided, in 1459, to transform the look of his birthplace. He chose the architect Bernardo Rossellino, who applied the principles of his mentor, Leon Battista Alberti. This new vision of urban space was realized in the superb square known as Piazza Pio II and the buildings around it: the Piccolomini Palace, the Borgia Palace and the cathedral with its pure Renaissance exterior and an interior in the late Gothic style of south German churches.

  • Val d'Orcia
    Date of Listing:2004
    The landscape of Val d'Orcia is part of the agricultural hinterland of Siena, re-drawn and developed when it was integrated in the territory of the city-state in the 14th and 15th centuries to reflect an idealized model of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing picture. The landscape's distinctive aesthetics, flat chalk plains out of which rise almost conical hills with fortified settlements on top, inspired many artists. Their images have come to exemplify the beauty of well-managed Renaissance agricultural landscapes. The inscription covers: an agrarian and pastoral landscape reflecting innovative land management systems; towns and villages; farmhouses; and the Roman Via Francigena



Umbria - World Heritage Sites

Umbria Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Umbria Italy Umbria - World Heritage Sites



  • Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites
    Date of Listing: 2000
    Assisi, a medieval city built on a hill, is the birthplace of Saint Francis, closely associated with the work of the Franciscan Order. Its medieval art masterpieces, such as the Basilica of San Francesco and paintings by Cimabue, Pietro Lorenzetti, Simone Martini and Giotto, have made Assisi a fundamental reference point for the development of Italian and European art and architecture.



Lazio - World Heritage Sites

Lazio Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Lazio Italy Lazio - World Heritage Sites



  • Historic Centre of Rome, the properties of the Holy See in that city enjoying extraterritorial rights, and San Paolo fuori le Mura
    Date of Listing: 1980
    Founded, according to legend, by Romulus and Remus in 753 B.C., Rome was first the centre of the Roman Republic, then of the Roman Empire, and it became the capital of the Christian world in the 4th century. The World Heritage site, extended in 1990 to the walls of Urban VIII, includes some of the major monuments of antiquity such as the Forums, the Mausoleum of Augustus, the Mausoleum of Hadrian, the Pantheon, Trajan's Column and the Column of Marcus Aurelius, as well as the religious and public buildings of papal Rome.

  • Villa Adriana - Tivoli
    Date of Listing: 1999
    The Villa Adriana (at Tivoli, near Rome) is an exceptional complex of classical buildings created in the 2nd century A.D. by the Roman emperor Hadrian. It combines the best elements of the architectural heritage of Egypt, Greece and Rome in the form of an 'ideal city'.

  • Villa d'Este, Tivoli
    Date of Listing:2001
    The Villa d'Este in Tivoli, with its palace and garden, is one of the most remarkable and comprehensive illustrations of Renaissance culture at its most refined. Its innovative design along with the architectural components in the garden (fountains, ornamental basins, etc.) makes this a unique example of an Italian 16th-century garden. The Villa d'Este, one of the first giardini delle meraviglie, was an early model for the development of European gardens.

  • Cerveteri , Tarquinia-Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia
    Date of Listing:2004
    These two large Etruscan cemeteries reflect different types of burial practices from the 9th to the 1st century BC, and bear witness to the achievements of Etruscan culture. The necropolis near Cerveteri, known as Banditaccia, contains thousands of tombs organized in a city-like plan, with streets, small squares and neighborhoods. The site contains very different types of tombs: trenches cut in rock; tumuli; and some, also carved in rock, in the shape of huts or houses with a wealth of structural details. These provide the only surviving evidence of Etruscan residential architecture. The necropolis of Tarquinia, also known as Monterozzi, contains 6,000 graves cut in the rock. It is famous for its 200 painted tombs, the earliest of which date from the 7th century BC.



Campania - World Heritage Sites

Marche Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Marche Italy Campania - World Heritage Sites



  • Historic Centre of Naples
    Date of Listing: 1995
    From the Neapolis founded by Greek settlers in 470 B.C. to the city of today, Naples has retained the imprint of the successive cultures that emerged in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. This makes it a unique site, with a wealth of outstanding monuments such as the Church of Santa Chiara and the Castel Nuovo.

  • The Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Ercolano, and Torre Annunziata
    Date of Listing: 1997
    When Vesuvius erupted on 24 August A.D. 79, it engulfed the two flourishing Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as the many wealthy villas in the area. These have been progressively excavated and made accessible to the public since the mid-18th century. The vast expanse of the commercial town of Pompeii contrasts with the smaller but betterpreserved remains of the holiday resort of Herculaneum, while the superb wall paintings of the Villa Oplontis at Torre Annunziata give a vivid impression of the opulent lifestyle enjoyed by the wealthier citizens of the Early Roman Empire.

  • The Amalfi Coast, Costiera Amalfitana - Salerno
    Date of Listing: 1997
    The Amalfi coast is an area of great physical beauty and natural diversity. It has been intensively settled by human communities since the early Middle Ages. There are a number of towns such as Amalfi and Ravello with architectural and artistic works of great significance. The rural areas show the versatility of the inhabitants in adapting their use of the land to the diverse nature of the terrain, which ranges from terraced vineyards and orchards on the lower slopes to wide upland pastures.

  • The 18th-Century Royal Palace at Caserta with the Park, the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli, and the San Leucio Complex
    Date of Listing: 1997
    The monumental complex at Caserta, created by the Bourbon king Charles III in the mid-18th century to rival Versailles and the Royal Palace in Madrid, is exceptional for the way in which it brings together a magnificent palace with its park and gardens, as well as natural woodland, hunting lodges and a silk factory. It is an eloquent expression of the Enlightenment in material form, integrated into, rather than imposed on, its natural setting.

  • Cilento and Vallo di Adriano National Park with the Archeological sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula
    Date of Listing: 1998
    The Cilento is an outstanding cultural landscape. The dramatic groups of sanctuaries and settlements along its three east– west mountain ridges vividly portray the area's historical evolution: it was a major route not only for trade, but also for cultural and political interaction during the prehistoric and medieval periods. The Cilento was also the boundary between the Greek colonies of Magna Graecia and the indigenous Etruscan and Lucanian peoples. The remains of two major cities from classical times, Paestum and Velia, are found there.



Basilicata - World Heritage Sites

Basilicata Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Basilicata Italy



  • I Sassi di Matera
    Date of Listing: 1993
    This is the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region, perfectly adapted to its terrain and ecosystem. The first inhabited zone dates from the Palaeolithic, while later settlements illustrate a number of significant stages in human history. Matera is in the southern region of Basilicata.



Puglia - World Heritage Sites

Puglia Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Puglia Italy



  • Castel del Monte - Bari
    Date of Listing: 1996
    When the Emperor Frederick II built this castle near Bari in the 13th century, he imbued it with symbolic significance, as reflected in the location, the mathematical and astronomical precision of the layout and the perfectly regular shape. A unique piece of medieval military architecture, Castel del Monte is a successful blend of elements from classical antiquity, the Islamic Orient and north European Cistercian Gothic.

  • The Trulli of Alberobello - Bari
    Date of Listing: 1996
    The trulli, limestone dwellings found in the southern region of Puglia, are remarkable examples of drywall (mortarless) construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. The trulli are made of roughly worked limestone boulders collected from neighboring fields. Characteristically, they feature pyramidal, domed or conical roofs built up of corbelled limestone slabs.



Sicilia - World Heritage Sites

Sicilia Sicily Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Sicilia Sicily Italy



  • The Archaeological Area of Agrigento
    Date of Listing: 1997
    Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century B.C., Agrigento became one of the leading cities in the Mediterranean world. Its supremacy and pride are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples that dominate the ancient town, much of which still lies intact under today's fields and orchards. Selected excavated areas throw light on the later Hellenistic and Roman town and the burial practices of its early Christian inhabitants.

  • Villa Romana del Casale - Piazza Armerina
    Date of Listing: 1997
    Roman exploitation of the countryside is symbolized by the Villa Romana del Casale (in Sicily), the centre of the large estate upon which the rural economy of the Western Empire was based. The villa is one of the most luxurious of its kind. It is especially noteworthy for the richness and quality of the mosaics which decorate almost every room; they are the finest mosaics in situ anywhere in the Roman world.

  • Isole Eolie - Aeolian Islands
    Date of Listing:2000
    The Aeolian Islands provide an outstanding record of volcanic island-building and destruction, and ongoing volcanic phenomena. Studied since at least the 18th century, the islands have provided the science of vulcanology with examples of two types of eruption (Vulcanian and Strombolian) and thus have featured prominently in the education of geologists for more than 200 years. The site continues to enrich the field of vulcanology.

  • Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto
    Date of Listing: 2002
    The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily: Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building.

  • Syracuse – The city and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica
    Date of Listing:2005
    The site consists of two separate elements, containing outstanding vestiges dating back to Greek and Roman times: The Necropolis of Pantalica contains over 5,000 tombs cut into the rock near open stone quarries, most of them dating from the 13th to 7th century B.C. Vestiges of the Byzantine era also remain in the area, notably the foundations of the Anaktoron (Prince's Palace). The other part of the property, Ancient Syracuse, includes the nucleus of the city’s foundation as Ortygia by Greeks from Corinth in the 8th century B.C.



Sardegna - World Heritage Sites

Sardegna Sardinia Italy Region

UNESCO Worls Heritage Sites Sardegna Sardinia Italy



  • Su Nuraxi di Barumini, Cagliari
    Date of Listing: 1997
    During the late 2nd millennium B.C. in the Bronze Age, a special type of defensive structure known as nuraghi (for which no parallel exists anywhere else in the world) developed on the island of Sardinia. The complex consists of circular defensive towers in the form of truncated cones built of dressed stone, with corbel-vaulted internal chambers. The complex at Barumini, which was extended and reinforced in the first half of the 1st millennium under Carthaginian pressure, is the finest and most complete example of this remarkable form of prehistoric architecture.



Note: Information courtesy of the Italian Government Tourist Board - www.italiantourism.com





Italy UNESCO World Heritage Sites


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