Italy’s ‘too full of Unesco sites’ to bother bidding this year

Italy has not put forward any candidates for the 2016 Unesco World Heritage shortlist. The reason? It already has too many beautiful sites.

Italy's 'too full of Unesco sites' to bother bidding this year
Italy has not entered any sites for this year's Unesco World Heritage allocations. Photo: Papapiper/Eduardo Bartocetti/Mikuzz/Flickr

“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).

SEE MORE: Five Italian Unesco sites you won't have heard of

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

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La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you’ll find in Italy

From Italian podcasts to surprising delicacies and our favourite overlooked travel destinations, new weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you'll find in Italy

La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in ‘My Account’ or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

A cornerstone of Italian culture, the tabaccheria is used for much more than just buying cigarettes. In fact, these little shops are pretty central to everyday life and anyone who moves to or just spends time in Italy will need to become as familiar with them as they are with the local coffee bar.

From paying bills to purchasing bus tickets, here are just some of the services you should know about and a few tips for your first visit.

Why the tabaccheria is essential to life in Italy – even if you don’t smoke

For Italian language learners: listening to podcasts is a great way to immerse yourself in a new language. Luckily there’s a vast range of audio shows for people wanting to learn Italian, whether you’re studying at an advanced level or learning from scratch. Here we’ve selected a few of our favourites, plus readers’ suggestions:

Some of the best podcasts for learners of Italian

Italy is known worldwide for pizza and gelato, but Italian cuisine is incredibly diverse and visitors are often surprised by some of the local delicacies on offer. I know rustic Tuscan cuisine didn’t exactly match my expectations when I first arrived in Italy. I quickly learned to love it – but my mother-in-law’s homemade chocolate cake made with pig’s blood (sanguinaccio is a delicacy in Puglia…) was a step too far!

So, from fried brains and tripe to suggestive desserts that you definitely wouldn’t expect the local priest to approve of, here’s a look at some more of the traditional foods loved by Italians – but not always by foreigners.

From fried brains to ‘sexy’ cakes: The Italian foods you might not expect in Italy

Visitors can find more than they bargained for at a traditional Italian food market. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

As regular visitors know, there’s much more to Italy than just the glamour of Rome, Venice or Florence, but some destinations suffer – we think unfairly – from negative reputations. From Caserta to Reggio Calabria and beyond, here are some of the overlooked Italian towns that are home to incredible sights that everyone should see at least once.

Nine overlooked Italian towns you should visit

If you’re planning a visit to Italy (or to another part of Europe from Italy) this year but want to cut down your carbon footprint, train travel is a great option and there are more routes than ever connecting Italy’s major cities to other parts of the continent.

Here are some of the main direct international train services you can use for travel between Italy and other European countries this year.

The train routes connecting Italy to the rest of Europe in 2023

Remember if you’d like to have this weekly newsletter sent straight to your inbox you can sign up for it via Newsletter preferences in “My Account”.

Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you’d like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]