‘20th-century Industrial City’ Ivrea Gets Unesco Status

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 00:00
Ivrea Unesco

The northern Italian city of Ivrea is Italy’s 54thUnesco World Heritage site. The announcement came July 1 during the 42nd meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, hosted in Bahrein.

Located in the metropolitan area of Turin, Ivrea is where Camillo Olivetti founded the company Olivetti in 1908. It would grow to become Italy’s main manufacturer of typewriters, mechanical calculators and computers. Between the 1930s and ‘60s, under the guidance of Adriano Olivetti, the son of Camillo, Ivrea fully developed as an industrial and socio-cultural project.

The city’s layout and buildings were designed by some of the best known Italian architects and urban planners of the time, and they represent a significant example of 20th-century urban development theories and architecture in response to the industrial and social transformations that were happening at the time, including the transition from mechanical to digital industries.

There are clearly defined areas and buildings for production, administration, social services and residential use. It represented an innovative experience which focused on both world-class industrial production and the well-being of local communities.

Olivetti’s idea of entrepreneurship was indeed based on the concept that profit should be reinvested for the benefits of the whole society. He founded the Community Movement, considered by some utopian, which later became a political party, but never built a mass following.

“It is a recognition of Adriano Olivetti’s humanist idea of work,” said Italy’s Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli. “A concept born and developed within the Community Movement, and fully achieved in Ivrea, where the economic, social and cultural well-being of employees was considered an integral part of the productive process.”

The candidacy was presented to Unesco in January 2017 and was promoted by Ivrea’s city council, the Adriano Olivetti Foundation, the Piedmont region, the metropolitan city of Turin, and coordinated by Italy’s Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Italy is the country with more Unesco sites, now at 54.  

For more information about Ivrea, visit the dedicated website.