“A decision was made not to put anything forward this year some time ago,” Francesco Bernabè, President of Italy's Unesco Commission, told La Repubblica.
“Italy is way out in front when it comes to the number of sites each country possesses and there needs to be more balance between nations.”
The country is home to an impressive 51 Unesco World Heritage sites, more than its nearest rivals China (48), Spain (44) and France (41).
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In order to give other nations a chance to catch up, the country has not submitted a candidate for the 29-country shortlist for the first time in 16 years.
“It's not a sporting competition, but I'm sure Italy will still stay top,” added Bernabè, in response to concerns that China could overtake Italy as the country with the most Unesco spots by 2017.
The historic cities of Florence and Venice are among Italy's current World Heritage locations.
Picturesque: central Florence. Photo: Papapiper/Flickr
Bernabè announced that after a break this year, Italy would be submitting the Piedmont town of Ivrea for Unesco status in 2017.
The medieval town, famous for its annual orange, is seeking to safeguard its more recent history with its impending bid.
The Piedmont town of Ivrea will be entered in 2017. Photo: Edoardo Bartocetti/Flickr
Instead of seeking to promote its history, the bid aims to get Unesco status for the town's industrial complexes, built by the Italian electronics manufacturer, Olivetti, between 1930 and 1960.
Ivrea is just one of 40 sites Italy has placed on a tentative World Heritage shortlist, which also includes the country's ancient Roman highway, the Appian Way, and the pristine Island of Asinara off Sardinia.
Still waiting for recognition: The Appian Way. Photo: Mikuzz/Flickr