In 1979, the ancient rock drawings of Lombardy’s Valcamonica became the first site in Italy to be designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage site. Through its World Heritage list, UNESCO seeks to protect and preserve the cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. Today, Italy has 49 UNESCO World Heritage sites – more than any other single country in the world.
The traveling photographic exhibit, unescoitalia – created by Italy’s Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities in association with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – is a collection of images of Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, as seen through the lenses of 14 prominent and contemporary Italian photographers: Olivo Barbieri, Gabriele Basilico, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Giuseppina Caltagirone, Luca Campigotto, Dario Coletti, Vittore Fossati, William Guerrieri, Mimmo Jodice, Giuseppe Leone, Marc Le Simple, Raffaella Mariniello, Luciano Romano and Ferdinando Scianna.
In celebration of 2013: The Year of Italian Culture in the United States, the Museo Italo Americano has partnered with the Italian Cultural Institute and the Consulate General of San Francisco to bring this beautiful photographic exhibit to the Bay Area, showcasing the beauty and splendor of Italy, and its importance to our global cultural heritage.
Letter from the Ambassador of Italy to the United States
“The stern features of a Church and the soft curves of a slope, the regular pattern of a colonnade and the unpredictable shapes of nature are all captured in these photographic fragments which pay tribute to the wonders of the 47 Italian sites under UNESCO protection.
A journey in pictures, bringing the Italian wonders to the United States. Fine art photography for a fascinating exhibition: a visual adventure across the length and breadth of our country. A journey dedicated to Americans on the occasion of our “2013: Year of Italian Culture in the United States”. This initiative, launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the auspices of the President of the Italian Republic, offers a unique voyage through the beauty, talents and ways of life of a country which draws inspiration precisely from its unparalleled past in order to innovate and rise to the challenges of the future.
And what better way to celebrate the cultural and natural treasures of our beautiful country than with the World Heritage sites? The Dolomites and the Aeolian Islands, Venice and its lagoon, the impressive Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi and the archaeological site of Pompeii: each of these wonders is a perfect destination for travelers fascinated by Italian history, art, and culture.
Regardless of where they are, World Heritage sites belong – by their very definition – to all the people of the world. Therefore in this of all years we wanted to give the opportunity to our American friends to admire the magic of our history-imbued landscapes and monuments right here, in the United States. Until, that is, they can come and admire them in person, in Italy!” – Claudio Bisogniero