UNESCO in Piedmont: art, cities and nature
Piedmont is plentiful in architectural, historical and environmental heritage recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all of which are an integral part of the regional tourist circuits: sites of exceptional universal value, legacies of the past that we pass on to future generations. Let's discover together what UNESCO treasures there are in Piedmont!
The Royal Residences of the House of Savoy
The first site recognized by UNESCO in 1997, the elegant residences of the Savoy family form a Corona di delizie (Crown of Delights) where you can immerse yourself in the world of courtly life. From Turin to the Langhe Roero and Monferrato area, the serial circuit invites you to discover unique architectural, artistic and scenic masterpieces.
Langhe, Roero and Monferrato are one of the flagship areas of Piedmont: 10,789 hectares in southern Piedmont with a "core zone" divided into 6 areas: the Langa of Barolo, the Castle of Grinzane Cavour, the Hills of Barbaresco, Nizza Monferrato capital of Barbera, Canelli and Asti Spumante, Monferrato of the "Infernot", the ancient cellars dug by hand in the tuff. All areas selected on the basis of the wine production of the individual territories, key places that recount the world of wine, architecture and the evolution of local history.
The Sacred Mountains
The Sacri Monti (Sacred Mountains) are groups of chapels and architectural artifacts built between the 15th and 17th centuries, which are integrated into an exceptional natural context and landscape. They are sites that offer picturesque climbs towards great sanctuaries and places of ancient worship, along a journey between extraordinarily powerful and beautiful artistic representations of: Varallo, in the province of Vercelli, Orta, in the Novara area, Crea, in Serralunga di Crea, in the Alessandria area; Oropa (Biella), Belmonte (Turin), Ghiffa and Domodossola, in the Verbano-Cusio-Ossola area. These architectural buildings received UNESCO recognition in 2003, along with the two Lombardy Sacred Mountains of Ossuccio and Varese.
Turin has been Creative City for Design since 2014, the only Italian city in the category thanks to its excellence in the sector, one of the keys to post-industrial development.
Alba, Piedmont's capital of food and wine, was recognised as Creative City for Gastronomy in 2017 for the strategic importance that the local food and wine department, and the territory of Langhe and Roero, holds in the economic and cultural field.
Biella: from the ancient tradition of textiles, a creativity that extends to design, environment, food and wine, art, comes the recognition as Creative City for Crafts and Folk Art, achieved in 2019.
Ivrea has been Industrial City of the XX Century since 2018: a distinctive example of the innovative experience of world-class industrial production aimed at the welfare of local communities. Built between 1930 and 1960 by Adriano Olivetti, it was designed by the most famous Italian architects and urban planners of the 20th century.
Prehistoric pile-dwelling sites of the Alps
Added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2011, the group of 111 pile-dwelling sites of the Alps, which extends across Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia, also includes two settlements in the Piedmont area: the site of Viverone and Azeglio, between the provinces of Turin and Biella, and the site of Lagoni di Mercurago Nature Park in the municipality of Arona (Novara).
The natural areas of the Ticino Val Grande Verbano Park, the Monviso Natural Park and the River Po and Collina Torinese Park are part of the UNESCO MAB (Man and the Biosphere) Programme and are managed from the perspective of resource conservation and sustainable development, while the Sesia Val Grande GeoPark, included in the UNESCO World Geoparks network, extends from Lake Maggiore to the Swiss border, up to Monte Rosa on the border with Val d'Aosta.
The Musical Art of Hunting Horn Players
Since 16 December 2020, the musical art of hunting horn players has been a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. The protagonist of the recognition is the Equipaggio della Reggia Venaria, the musical group brought back to life in 1996 by the Sant’Uberto Academy-Onlus. The UNESCO recognition goes specifically to the natural horn "without valves or pistons", used in the Savoy and French tradition, on which the Academy has carried out in-depth research, leading to the creation of the Equipaggio engaged in concerts in many parts of Europe. And as is European tradition, the players wear an outfit reminiscent of the original, characterised by red and royal blue with gold and silver chevrons.
Current UNESCO candidatures
Today, the Via Francigena and the Sacra di San Michele, a symbolic monument of Piedmont, are candidates to become part of the UNESCO World Heritage as a trans-regional serial site. In particular, the Sacra is an integral part of the "Cultural Landscape of Benedictine Settlements in Medieval Italy".