Header photo: Detail of mural in Villa dei Misteri, Pompeii
The incredible richness and diversity of Italy’s cultural and natural World Heritage is simply stunning. The list includes among others little know pre-historic dwellings in the Alps and the magnificent Dolomites in the north, Milan’s art superstar; Da Vinci’s the Last Supper, La Serenissima that is Venice and its vast Lagoon, the exquisite byzantine mosaic art of Ravenna, all of Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Rome and Naples. And in the south, Sicily’s Greek temples of Agrigento and the legacy of the Normans in Palermo and Cefalù.
You could literally spend a lifetime exploring this multitude of historically invaluable treasures. With all due respect to the main art cities of Rome, Florence and Venice, they are without doubt major points of reference but not necessarily exclusive destinations in themselves. As the map indicates, you will find astonishingly beautiful art and architecture in every corner of the country. Italy is indeed an oasis for those is search of sublime cultural experiences as well as culinary nourishment.
Currently Italy has 51 sites inscribed on the World Heritage list, more than any other country, and 39 properties on the Tentative List, waiting to be inscribed sometime in the future.
The latest addition to the World Heritage list is the Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale in Sicily (July 2015).
For more on Italy see: