ELEVEN UNESCO Heritage of Emilia Romagna
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With 53 places of art and culture, Italy it is the Nation that currently holds the largest number of sites included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.
Among these, eleven are located in Emilia Romagna and today they want to celebrate them all together, explaining why these places are essential for the history of the world.
Let’s start from Ferrara, elected in 1995 the “Renaissance City“. In the fifteenth and sixteenth century, in fact, Ferrara was an important intellectual center, home to artists such as Piero della Francesca, Jacopo Bellini and Andrea Mantegna. Here was carried out the ‘ideal city‘, thanks to urban projects by the architect Biagio Rossetti. The so called “Herculean Addition” was the first project carried out in Europe according to the new principles of perspective which signed the birth of modern town planning.
Ferrara preserves still intact this architectural structure, whose canons had a deep influence on the development of urbanism in the following centuries. In 1999 the UNESCO recognition it was extended to the Po Delta, as a planned cultural landscape that keeps its original form, and to the Este Villas, the ancient residences built by the Este Family between the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance and as recreation places for Principles and Courtiers.
Ravenna, the city of mosaics, was the capital both of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century, both of the Byzantine Empire in Italy until the eighth century. Eight are its early christian Monuments (built Between the fifth and sixth centuries) that were declared in 1999 World Heritage Sites: the Basilica of San Vitale, the Mausoleum of Galla Placida, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo and Sant’Apollinare in Classe, the Arian Baptistery, the Baptistery of Neon and the Chapel of St. Andrew. This complex of ancient monuments unique in the world for the richness and the artistic quality of the mosaic decorations, are the silent testimony of an essential age of European history.
Let’s move to Modena, where within at few meters we find three unique buildings, listed by UNESCO since 1997. In the Piazza Grande, the Cathedral and the Ghirlandina Tower are considered ‘Symbol of the City”. The Cathedral, built in the twelfth century it is a supreme example of early Romanesque art, setting itself as an fundamental model for the entire Po Valley Romanesque. The building is considered a masterpiece of human creative genius, that stimulated a new dialectical relationship between architecture and sculpture. With its square and the slender tower, the work testifies the power of the Canossa’s family and the cultural traditions of the period: it is, indeed, one of the best examples of an architectural complex that combines Religious values together with the idea of a medieval christian city.
Since 2006, Bologna it is one of the five Creative City of Music, due to its rich musical tradition in continuous evolution and its commitment to promote the art of music.
In past centuries Bologna was a goal for the greatest musicians of Europe (Such as Mozart, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Farinelli, Rossini and Donizetti, which had chosen to live here for long periods of their life). From the 50s Bologna it is the the European Capital of Jazz, thanks to the International Festival conceived by Alberto Alberti. During the year a bunch of Music Festivals enliven the city, ranging from contemporary to classical music.
Staying in the Bologna area, we have to mention the Chiusa di Casalecchio di Reno, listed by UNESCO as messengers of culture of peace and which is the oldest hydraulic work still working in Europe.
There is another monument that was listed by UNESCO as witness of a peace culture: we are talking about the MIC, the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza. Founded in 1908, the museum contains about 60,000 works that testify ceramic productions of every era and continent, from the ancient Mesopotamia to the biggest contemporary artists (Such as Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Fontana). According to UNESCO, the Museum is a reference point for the ancient modern and contemporary ceramics, both for the presence of the precious ceramic works contained in it, both for the outstanding documentation guarded in its library, that now hosts more than 60,000 volumes and 400 periodicals.
And what about Cesena? This sunny city of Romagna hosts the awesome Malatesta Library, the only place in Italy listed by UNESCO in the Register of the World Memory. This monastery library, built in the mid fifteenth century, had a particular importance in The historical records contained inside: it was, indeed, the first public library of Italy and Europe, and it was the only example of humanistic monastic library preserved in its building and books: here you can find more than 287 incunabula, about 1,753 manuscripts and over 17,000 letters.
According to historians the ambiguous status of Malatesta Library (Builded as a public Library but entrusted to Franciscan friars) was the main factor that protected it from damages and looting during centuries.
Maybe not everyone knows that also the City of Parma boasts a UNESCO recognition as Creative City of Gastronomy, due to its own culinary tradition made by tortelli, anolini, stuffed pasta, Parmesan and Parma ham. This prestigious recognition rewards the Emilia’s city for the distinctiveness of its offer and for the excellence of local products.
Parma City, in fact, together with the its Food Valley area, are universally known due to them capacity to preserve their gastronomic legacy, maintaining by centuries the production of local delicacies such as Parmigiano Reggiano and the famous Parma ham.
Among the newest UNESCO Heritage of Emilia Romagna we have to mention the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano Biosphere Reserve. This Natural Park, one of the biggest in Italy, it is located between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna and covers the whole ridge of the Apennines, which also marks the geographical border between the continental Europe climate and the Mediterranean one.
The area of hosts about 70% of the wild species of Italy, including the 122 species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and fish, besides a great variety of flora That includes at least 260 aquatic botanic species.
The main economic activity in the reserve is the agriculture, so if you are in the area, take a pause to taste the delicious food of these areas.