Medici Villas Added To UNESCO World Heritage Site List

Sun, 06/30/2013 - 14:20
UNESCO has inscribed Italy’s Medici Villas and Gardens to the World Heritage List. Twelve villas and two pleasure gardens in the Tuscan countryside make up the site. UNESCO added the site to the cultural list during its latest session because the site bears testimony to the influence the Medici family exerted over modern European culture through its patronage of the arts. The villas were built between the 15th and 17th centuries, and UNESCO reports they represent an innovative system of rural construction in harmony with nature and dedicated to leisure, the arts and knowledge. UNESCO says: “The villas embody an innovative form and function, a new type of princely residence that differed from both the farms owned by rich Florentines of the period and from the military might of baronial castles. The Medici villas form the first example of the connection between habitat, gardens and the environment, and became an enduring reference for princely residences throughout Italy and Europe. Their gardens and integration into the natural environment helped develop the appreciation of landscape characteristic [of] humanism and the Renaissance.” At the same session, UNESCO added Sicily’s Mount Etna volcano to the World Heritage List as a natural site. UNESCO reports its decision is because Mount Etna supports “important terrestrial ecosystems including endemic flora and fauna, and its activity makes it a natural laboratory for the study of ecological and biological processes.”

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