UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Veneto

Dolomite Mountains

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Italy has 59 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (more than any other country in the world). Nine of these sites are wholly or partly within the region of Veneto. The cities of Venice and Verona are well known, but are you familiar with the others? Here is a complete list of World Heritage Sites in Veneto.

1. Venice And Its Lagoon

The City of Venice needs no introduction, but why is it a World Heritage Site? UNESCO lists a number of reasons: it is a “unique artistic achievement”, and has had a considerable influence on the development of art and architecture worldwide. Historically, it was the centre of its own republic and a link between the cultures and civilisations of the East and the West. The habitat of the lagoon also gets a mention, as does the long-running struggle between the people and the water.

Canal and tall buildings with arches and frescoes
Canalside buildings of Venice

The city, with its 118 islands, was founded in the 5th century. By the 10th century it was a major maritime power, and today it is one of the major tourist attractions in the world. UNESCO has expressed concern about potential damage to the city and the lagoon from overtourism. This has led to proposals such as the Venice Tourist Tax and a cruise ship ban.

If you are planning a visit to Venice, have a look at this Ultimate Guide For Your Trip To Venice.

2. City Of Verona

The City of Verona is a historic art town, regarded as second only to Rome for the quality of its Roman remains. The UNESCO inscription reflects the city’s importance during different times in history, including periods of Roman, Lombard and Scaliger rule. It also covers the urban structure and architecture, noting the many magnificent buildings from different eras.

Square with a statue and surrounded by old buildings
Typical architecture of Verona

The last part of the inscription states that Verona “represents in an exceptional way the concept of the fortified town at several seminal stages of European history”. I was certainly fascinated by the city’s defences, and you can read about my exploration: Making Sense Of Verona’s Walls And Fortifications.

If you are planning a visit to Verona, have a look at these suggestions for Things To Do In Verona, A World Heritage Site.

LivItaly have a whole range of small group tours throughout Italy. Readers of this site can get a 5% discount on all of their tours by using discount code BEWITCHEDBYITALY

3. City Of Vicenza And The Palladian Villas Of The Veneto

There are two parts to this site: the city of Vicenza, and 24 villas in the Veneto countryside. The two are linked by the 16th century architect Andrea Palladio, whose work is prominent in Vicenza and Venice, and whose influence can be seen throughout the western world.

Exterior of the Villa Maser, a Palladian building with columns and arches
Villa Maser (image by albertosandrin from Pixabay)

UNESCO cites the genius of Palladio, the way in which he was influenced by classical architecture, and the fact that he applied “his principles to rural as well as urban contexts”. Vicenza itself contains 23 of his buildings and is regarded as a “unique architectural experience”.

Read more about Exploring Palladio’s Vicenza: A World Heritage Site.

4. Botanical Garden, Padua

The Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico) in Padua is the oldest academic botanic garden in continuous use in the world. (The Pisa Botanic Garden is slightly older, but has not always occupied the same location.) It was created by Benedictine monks for scientific purposes (research into medicinal plants) in 1545.

Garden with pathway, trees, hedge and a statue
The Botanical Garden in Padua (image copyright Pat M2007 via Flickr)

The Padua Botanical Garden is included on the UNESCO list for its historical value and because it inspired similar gardens elsewhere. Its contribution to scientific discovery and collections of rare plants are also noted. The Orto Botanico is still a research centre today but welcomes visitors, who can enjoy a peaceful walk among a massive variety of plants.

Read more about Visiting The Padua Botanical Garden.

5. Fresco Cycles Of Padua

Padua’s Fourteenth Century Fresco Cycles is a group of eight buildings with fresco cycles painted between 1302 and 1397. The site includes different types of building (both religious and secular), different artists, and different patrons and purposes. However UNESCO states that the frescoes have a unity of style and that, as a group, they “illustrate how, over the course of a century, fresco art developed along a new creative impetus and understanding of spatial representation”.

Detail from a fresco showing Judas kissing Christ surrounded by men with swords
Detail from a fresco in the Scrovegni Chapel (image by valentina Ficuciello from Pixabay)

The star of the group is the Scrovegni Chapel (also known as the Arena Chapel), belonging to a monastery which is now part of the city’s Museo Civico. The walls and ceiling of the chapel are covered with frescoes by Giotto with a variety of religious subjects including the Life of Christ and the Last Judgement. These paintings are a masterpiece by any standards, but UNESCO also regards them as having “marked the beginning of a revolutionary development in the history of mural painting”.

Read more: UNESCO World Heritage Of Padua’s Fourteenth-Century Fresco Cycles.

6. Le Colline Del Prosecco Di Conegliano E Valdobbiadene

Le Colline Del Prosecco Di Conegliano E Valdobbiadene covers the hills of the Prosecco wine growing region in the province of Treviso, northwest of Venice. This is a historic wine landscape “resulting from the interaction of nature and people over several centuries”. It is characterised by small plots on grassy terraces, creating a distinctive chequerboard appearance.

Landscape of green hills covered with vines and trees
The landscape of the Prosecco Hills (image copyright Lorenzo Benetton via Flickr)

Visitors to the Prosecco hills can enjoy the scenery, outdoor activities and, of course, the wine.

7. The Dolomites

According to UNESCO The Dolomites are “among the most attractive mountain landscapes in the world”, with a variety of rock formations and natural colours, a vast region of cliffs, forests and meadows. The area is also important for its geology and geomorphology: it is a classic limestone terrain, with visual evidence of erosion, tectonism and glaciation.

Pinnable image of World Heritage Sites in Veneto, with a landscape of tall mountains, green hills and a village in a valley
Pinnable image of the Dolomites (image by Harry Burgess from Pixabay)

The World Heritage Site covers two Italian regions: Veneto and Trentino. Apart from the landscape, tourists can enjoy hiking and cycling in the mountains. The proximity of the region to Austria creates a distinctive cuisine, and there are vineyards to visit.

8. Venetian Works Of Defence Between The 16th And 17th Centuries

The Venetian Republic extended far beyond the city of Venice, taking in parts of modern day Croatia and Montenegro as well as Italy. The UNESCO site known as The Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries includes six fortifications across all three countries: in Italy they are located in Veneto, Lombardy and Friuli-Venezia.

These extensive walls and bastions protected the Republic’s borders, ports and sea routes. According to UNESCO they demonstrate a particular military culture that developed in Venice during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Water surrounded by a wall and trees
Fortress walls of Peschiera del Garda (image copyright Terry Clinton via Flickr)

Within Veneto the World Heritage Site is represented by the fortress town of Peschiera del Garda, on the southern shore of Lake Garda. The town is surrounded by a pentagon of walls and ramparts, based on a medieval structure but redesigned for defensive purposes in the 16th century.

9. Prehistoric Pile Dwellings Around The Alps

The Prehistoric Pile Dwellings Around The Alps is another multi-country, multi-region site. It includes the remains of 111 prehistoric pile dwellings in the Alps, giving an insight into life in the area during the Stone Age and Bronze Age. Although most of the houses are in Switzerland, they are also found in other countries and in several Italian regions.

Remains of a prehistoric house on stilts beside a lake with mountains behind
A typical pile dwelling house (image by alessandra barbieri from Pixabay)

Pile dwellings were houses built by lakes or rivers, or on marshland, and were set on piles to protect against flooding. There are four such structures in Veneto. Two are close to Peschiera del Garda (at Belvedere and on Lake Frassino), one is at Tombola (40 km southeast of Verona) and one is at Arquà Petrarca (35 km southwest of Padua). There is more information about the dwellings at the Museo della Pesca in Peschiera.

About Bewitched by italy

Bewitched By Italy is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), but Italy remains one of my favourite destinations. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…


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