The 9 spectacular UNESCO World Heritage sites in Italy’s Veneto region

Friday, 31 December 2021 13:51
Valdobbiadene Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Unesco Heritage Arcangelo Piai

A journey through Italy’s northern Veneto region and the 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites to be found in its great art cities and in its historical, artistic, cultural and natural heritage. A heritage of absolute excellence which has been handed down through the ages, passing on to future generations those universal values on which the region’s identity is based.

Tre Cime di LavaredoTre Cime di Lavaredo

The Dolomite mountain range 

“Their dramatic vertical and pale coloured peaks in a variety of distinctive sculptural forms are extraordinary in a global context. This property also contains an internationally important combination of earth science values.”  So reads a passage from the 2009 Seville Declaration in which the Dolomite mountain range was welcomed to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The province of Belluno is the one with the most extensive part of the Dolomites, and counts five of the nine UNESCO sites in the region: the Pelmo and Croda da Lago, the Marmolada, the Pale di San Martino, the Pale di San Lucano, Dolomiti Bellunesi and Vette Feltrine, the Northern Dolomites and, lastly, the Friulian Dolomites and the Oltre Piave Dolomites.

orto botanicoBotanical Garden

Padua’s Botanical Garden   

Another spectacular UNESCO site is Padua’s Botanical Garden which was founded in 1545 and is the world’s oldest university botanical garden. Located in the heart of the city, it started as a garden for the study of medicinal plants and today can boast some 3,500 different species. Its listing in the World Heritage ranking dates back to 1997 with the following motivation: “The Botanical Garden of Padua is the original of all botanical gardens throughout the world. It has made a profound contribution to the development of many modern scientific disciplines, notably botany, medicine, chemistry, ecology, and pharmacy.”

Venice LagoonVenice Lagoon

Venice and its Lagoon

The city of Venice and its surrounding lagoon were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 for “the uniqueness of its cultural values, consisting of historical, archaeological, urban, architectonic, artistic heritage and exceptional cultural traditions, integrated into an extraordinary and outstanding environmental, natural and landscape context.” The site is a cultural landscape illustrating the work of man and nature over time, and the lagoon is an exceptional example of semi-lacustrine habitat that protects the eight municipalities overlooking it: Campagna Lupia, Cavallino Treporti, Chioggia, Codevigo, Jesolo, Mira, Musile di Piave and Quarto d'Altino.  

Verona VenetoVerona

The City of Verona 

Verona was added to the World Heritage of Humanity list in 2000. The motivation reads: "The historic city of Verona, founded in the 1st century B.C. experienced periods of expansion under the Scaliger family in the 13th and 14th centuries, and under the Republic of Venice from the 15th to the 17th centuries. It constitutes an exceptional example of a fortress, and has preserved a considerable number of ancient Medieval and Renaissance monuments. It is a city of culture and art". After Rome Verona is considered the second city in Italy for the number of well-preserved Roman remains such as the Arena, the Roman Theatre, the Ponte Pietra bridge, the Gavi Arch and the Leoni and Borsari Gates.

Teatro olimpicoThe Olympic Theatre

Vicenza and Palladio's villas 

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994, Vicenza is adorned with majestic architecture that bears just one name: Andrea Palladio. Just think of the magnificence of the Basilica Palladiana, the Olympic Theatre, the Loggia del Capitaniato and the extraordinary Villa Almerico Capra "La Rotonda".  The city of Vicenza and Palladio’s villas in Veneto were given two successive recognitions by UNESCO. The first in 1994, which recognized 23 palaces in the historical city center and three suburban villas as World Heritage Sites, and the second in 1996 when the site was enlarged with the addition of another 21 Palladian villas throughout the region.  

The Palafitticoli pile-dwelling Sites

In June 2012 a new pearl was added to this precious necklace of heritage protected by UNESCO in the Veneto region with the inclusion of three of the 111 Pile-Dwelling Sites of the Alpine Arc.  Two of these are in the province of Verona: one in Peschiera del Garda, between Belvedere and Frassino, and one in Tombola, near Cerea. While in the province of Padua an important site was identified in Laghetto della Costa in Arquà Petrarca, at the foot of the Euganean Hills.

The Prosecco Hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene 

In the 2019 the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This landscape, in the province of Treviso, stretches for 181 square kilometers among sloping vineyard and villages between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. The official UNESCO description states that "the area includes a series of hill, running from east to west, equidistant from the Dolomites and the Adriatic Sea, which has a positive effect on the climate and the countryside. While Conegliano hosts many systems related to wine, Valdobbiadene is instead the productive heart of the wine area.” 

Venetian 16th and 17th-century defense constructions: Stato da Tera - Stato da Ma

In 2017 UNESCO recognized as a World Heritage Site this serial set of assets that crosses several states from Italy to Croatia and Montenegro and that for Veneto includes the pentagon-shaped fortress city of Peschiera del Garda. The old city walls, which are still splendidly preserved today, had ramparts and bastions designed by Guidobaldo della Rovere and built by Michele Sanmicheli, one of the most important architects of his time.

Padua venetoPadua

Padua’s Frescoed Cycles 

With the proclamation on Saturday, July 24, 2021 in Fuzhou, China, the site The 14th-century Frescoed Cycles was declared a World Heritage Site, bringing to nine the number of Venetian sites awarded with UNESCO recognition. The site is a complex of eight monuments in the historic center of Padua within which are preserved cycles of frescoes by Giotto, Guariento, Giusto de' Menabuoi, Altichiero da Zevio, Jacopo Avanzi and Jacopo da Verona. 

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