Liguria has two World Heritage Sites, one Global Geopark, and three sites on the UNESCO Tentative List. Here is a complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Liguria.
1. Genoa: Strade Nuove And Palazzi Dei Rolli
Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli includes a group of historic streets and palaces in the centre of Genoa. These date from the 16th and 17th centuries when the city was an important maritime and commercial centre. The site is recognised both for its significance in the development of European urban planning and for its architectural value.
There are two parts to the inscription. The Strade Nuove (“new streets”) were part of the redevelopment of the city in keeping with its growing wealth and power. This was to be where the most influential families lived: today you can walk the streets and marvel at the grand palazzi.
The second part of the listing is the Palazzi dei Rolli. These were a group of noble palaces, designed to be lived in by prominent citizens, but also to be available to provide civic hospitality to important visitors, such as foreign princes or ambassadors. 42 such residences were listed in the city register (or “roll”), and can still be seen today. Five of them are open to the public as museums, including the Palazzo Rosso which is home to the city’s most important art collection.
2. Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands
Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands covers the spectacular – and at one time almost inaccessible – Ligurian coastline. It is listed for its illustration of a traditional way of life shaped by the landscape for over a thousand years. In particular it cites the terraces that allowed a steep, inhospitable terrain to be farmed, the many miles of dry stone walls, and the relationship between the people, the land, and the sea. (The dry stone walling is additionally part of a transnational listing of UNESCO Intangible Heritage.)
The site includes around 15 km of coast between Levanto and La Spezia: fortunately for tourists the clifftop towns are now connected by a railway, although they remain car-free. The five villages of the Cinque Terre are a very popular destination for visitors – read more about The Cinque Terre, A Paradise For Train Lovers.
The UNESCO listing also includes Portovenere, an important town dating back to Roman times, and the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.
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Global Geopark: Beigua
The National Park of Beigua is a massive natural area designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark. This is a recognition of the park’s exceptional geodiversity, with a wide variety of landscapes and geomorphology, including cliffs and mountains, forests, agricultural land and Mediterranean flora. The park is also scattered with historic sites, some dating back as far as the Neolithic era.
For the visitor this is very much a place for hiking (with trails for all abilities) and for enjoying the views. It is also an excellent spot for birdwatching, being on a migration route and home to several types of birds of prey.
UNESCO Tentative List
Liguria has three entries on the UNESCO Tentative List. These include the Hanbury Botanical Gardens, a planned 19th century garden close to Ventimiglia. The other two are multi-region sites: Pelagos, The Cetacean Sanctuary is a shared marine area that is home to whales and other sea mammals, and the Via Francigena is a historic pilgrimage route to Rome.