Bologna’s Porticoes Vie For Unesco’s World Heritage Status

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 00:00
Portico of Bologna

Bologna’s famous porticoes have been approved as the Italian candidate for 2020 to Unesco’s World Heritage List. The decision was taken by Unesco’s Italian Committee, which met last week at the headquarters of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. Final decision is expected in 2021. 

“A big, well-deserved achievement for Bologna,” said Bologna’s mayor Virginio Merola.

Bologna has 38 km of porticoes in the historic city center, 53 if you also consider the outer stretches. They are a landmark of the city, like the Two Towers and the local cuisine. 
Not all 53 km of porticoes will be nominated; 12 of the most symbolic stretches have been selected. 

To be included in Unesco’s World Heritage List, sites must present an ‘outstanding universal value’ and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. The two criteria that will be used for Bologna’s porticoes are: 

-number iv: “an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;”

-number ii: “exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design.”

In the Unesco application, the porticoes are described as “an identifying element of the city of Bologna, both by the local community and by visitors, and a benchmark for a sustainable urban lifestyle, where religious and civil spaces and the homes of all social classes are perfectly integrated.” 

The porticoes are nominated because, as highlighted in the application dossier, they constitute “the excellent result of a system of urban planning outlined over the course of nine centuries, as well as an architectural and social model, a place of integration and exchange in which the main protagonists of the city, citizens, visitors, students, live and share ideas and time.”

“The nomination of Bologna’s porticoes to Unesco’s World Heritage list is great news for Bologna and for Italy,” Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini tweeted. “The porticoes are extraordinary and unique and their beauty will conquer the world.”

To learn how the porticoes of Bologna originated, click here

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