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UNESCO Heritage Sites in Italy

Italy holds the record for the most UNESCO heritage sites in the world.

There are currently 55 UNESCO sites in Italy — 50 cultural and 5 natural — and many others are under consideration.

UNESCO’s heritage lists provide context to a country’s history and traditions. Many travelers, including myself, use UNESCO’s lists as a guide to deciding where to go, what to see, or what to read (or write) about.

Following is a list of Italy’s UNESCO sites. Links to coverage of these sites on Italofile are provided where applicable and will be continuously updated.

Prosecco Hills of Italy, a UNESCO World Heritage site
Farra di Soligo, located in Italy’s Prosecco HIlls, is the most recent addition to Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Photo via Consorzio Tutela del Vino Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG

UNESCO Cultural Heritage Sites in Italy

UNESCO Natural Heritage Sites

  • Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe
  • Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands) (Sicily)
  • Monte San Giorgio (Lombardy, shared with Switzerland)
  • Mount Etna (Sicily)
  • The Dolomites (Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia)

Italy’s Intangible Cultural Heritage

In addition to sites one can visit, Italy is also recognized by its intangible cultural heritage. These include the following:

  • Opera dei Pupi, Sicilian puppet theatre
  • Canto a tenore, Sardinian pastoral songs
  • Traditional violin craftsmanship in Cremona (Lombardy)
  • Mediterranean diet (shared with other countries)
  • Celebrations of big shoulder-borne processional structures (Example from Molise)
  • Traditional agricultural practice of cultivating the “vite ad alberello” (head-trained bush vines) of the community of Pantelleria (Sicily)
  • Falconry, a living human heritage (shared with other countries)
  • Art of Neapolitan “Pizzaiuolo”
  • Art of dry stone walling, knowledge and techniques (shared with other countries)

Source: Italy’s UNESCO sites