Italy’s Prosecco hills added to UNESCO World Heritage List

Home to world-famous fizz Prosecco, Italy’s hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Prosecco hills in Valdobbiadene, Santo Stefano.

In a meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan on Sunday 7 July, The UNESCO World Heritage Committee congratulated Italy and its Prosecco region, which is located in Veneto in the north-east of Italy.

With exports rising by a record 21% in 2019 in foreign markets, Prosecco has become the most popular Italian wine abroad.

Italy’s foreign ministry and agriculture minister, Gian Marco Centinaio, said the announcement marks a “historic day for Veneto and for Italy as a whole.”

Italian ministers had applied for Prosecco to be given heritage status last year, but the country’s bid failed by a few votes.

President of the Consortium for the Protection of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG, Innocente Nardi, said: “The producers that make up the Consortium of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG have been at the heart of UNESCO nomination.

“They live and shape the uniqueness of our landscape, with its patchwork of steep, demanding vineyards that can only ever be worked by hand. Countless generations have forged our distinctive patchworks and unique grassy earth terraces, that we call ciglioni. Their labour has carved out from nature a unique identity that has led to UNESCO recognition.”

The site is the 10th in the world to be registered as a World Heritage Site under Unesco’s category of ‘cultural landscape’.

In a statement released yesterday, Unesco said: “The landscape is characterised by ‘hogback’ hills, ciglioni – small plots of vines on narrow grassy terraces – forests, small villages and farmland. For centuries, this rugged terrain has been shaped and adapted by man.

“Since the 17th century, the use of ciglioni has created a particular chequerboard landscape consisting of rows of vines parallel and vertical to the slopes. In the 19th century, the bellussera technique of training the vines contributed to the aesthetic characteristics of the landscape.”

Future steps for the Prosecco hills include developing sustainable conservation of the landscape and supporting the growing tourism in the area.

The region is now Italy’s 55th heritage site.

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