Thursday, July 21, 2011

New UNESCO World Hertiage Sites near Vicenza

This is kind of late news, but it is good news nonetheless.  Two new "sites" (both were really for a string of sites tied together by a singular theme or "significance") were added by UNESCO to the World Heritage Site List, both within driving distance from Vicenza.  One is hailed by the Italian press as more significant due to it being completely housed within the country's borders, the other scattered across six countries but no less significant nonetheless.  

First is a series of sites collected under the title "Longobards in Italy, Places of Power (568-774 AD)".  The sites are scattered across Italy, with three found in the provinces of Lombardy and Friuli-Venza Giulia.  The closest one is Brescia, where the complex of San Salvatore-Santa Giulia could be found.  It's a fascinating place, not only because it bears many markers of Lombard civilization, but because of its extensive record of the city of Brescia, from prehistoric times to its rapid industrialization in the early 20th century.  Cividale del Friuli is next on my list to visit, and I hear from many people from the area that the Lombard treasures could be found all over the town in the most unexpected places, not just the complexes listed by UNESCO.  This is also why I believe this list is bound to be expanded in the future.  Places like Monza for example, which holds the Lombard crown, could easily be added to the list.  We will see.

The other site is the numerous prehistoric pile dwellings found around the Alpine lakes listed under "Prehistoric Pile Dwellings Around the Alps".  Although primarily a Swiss entry, the listing includes 17 sites in Italy.  Although two of the sites are in Veneto and most of the other ones are within a stone's throw from Vicenza in Lake Garda, the most alluring and focused site close to Vicenza is found in a little-known lake north of Garda, Lake Ledro.   I have spoken highly of the lake before, and I'm glad that it is receiving the attention it deserves.  Not only does it have a "village" that one can walk through and explore, the lake itself deserves at least a weekend, with clear--but cold!--water for swimming and nearby rivers, canyons, and mountains for trekking, canyoning, kayaking, and rafting.  

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