1.         City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto (Italy) (C 712bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (i)(ii)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/712/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/712/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

Joint ICOMOS/World Heritage Centre mission 23 to 25 March 2005

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Construction project of a Highway extension in the vicinity of Villa Saraceno; uncontrolled construction development in the Veneto region

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/712/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

On 1 February 2005 the State Party transmitted a first Technical Report to the World Heritage Centre.  In this report, the Italian Ministry of Culture, made the following observations, with respect to the Committee’s decision.

Although the construction of the stretch of Highway (Autostrada) running near Villa Saraceno-Lombardi was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2004, construction had not yet begun.  A variant of the project has been approved, providing for significant changes to the original project, in order to mitigate the impact of the Highway on the historic landscape and the Palladian Villa. 

The variant of the project relocates the infrastructure about 800 metres away from the Villa, and foresees a trench-based layout for a length of 3.6 km.  Trees will be planted alongside the trench, thus making the Highway not visible from the Saraceno-Lombardi Villa, and also from other nearby monuments.  Furthermore, the revised project reduces the size and height of the Agugliaro junction, to be located 3000 metres from the boundary of Villa Saraceno. 

It should be pointed out that the conditions issued by the Regional Authorities approving the project foresee the establishment of a Park stretching from the foot of the Colli Berici to the Euganean Hills.  The boundaries of this Park would be very extensive, and would include the Saraceno-Lombardi Villa; this therefore represents a useful instrument for the protection of the property and controlling any adverse impacts caused by development.
In addition, the Land Use Plan of the Municipality of Agugliaro establishes that industrial districts – mainly comprising small enterprises – shall be located in an area at a distance of no less than 3.2 km from the Villa Saraceno, beyond built-up areas.  

The joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission took place from 23 to 25 March 2005.  The mission visited the site to assess and evaluate the potential impact of the new infrastructure on the outstanding universal value of the property, and to examine its adverse direct and indirect impacts on the authenticity of the property.  The mission had meetings with regional and local authorities and the Verona-Vicenza-Padova Highway Corporation.  All necessary assistance and information requested were provided by the authorities. 

The Mayor of Agugliaro informed the mission that the overall Highway project concerned 23 local communities and in 2001 a local referendum had been held in which 73% of the citizens of Agugliaro voted in favour of the proposed new road.  The proposed Highway project dates back to the 1970s.  Part of the Highway, A31, had already been built but this section (Vicenza-Rovigo, known as Valdastico Sud) had been postponed.  This Highway is expected to reduce the pressure on the local road SS247.  The mission noted that this road was narrow and very heavily used.  The existing road is visible from the Villa, at about 220 metres distance, producing constant noise and dirt pollution. 

The proposed new Highway is in the form of an arch close to other historical buildings protected by Italian law with two different levels of protection.  Originally the proposed Highway was much closer to Villa Saraceno, passing at 330 metres distance.  The new proposal sets the Highway at 790 metres in a direct line from the Villa.  The Highway then passes in the vicinity of other listed buildings, at 490 metres from the Palazzo delle Trombe, and only 100 metres from Villa Saraceno-Dolfin. 

The design of the Highway, foresees that 2.5 km of the section close to the Villa passes through a ‘trench’ below street level, at considerable extra cost.  On the side of the trench there would be artificial mounts and a line of trees.  This would greatly reduce the visual impact of the road.  The proposed trench design also includes a noise barrier and a new line of trees on both sides. 

In the proximity of the Villa Saraceno a Highway over-pass is foreseen, (Cavalcavia No 18) and at the other end of the trench, close to Villa Saraceno-Dolfin, a second one is located (Cavalcavia No 19).  Both over-passes, necessary to connect local roads to the Highway, are very close to the Villa in question.  No 18 will be in direct visual contact with the Villa.  The ‘Casello di Agugliaro’, though close, is not visible from the Villa.  The toll booths and junction of this part of the Highway will be modified and simplified.   The design of these three elements is considered as crucial, and must be as simple and at as low a level as possible.  The mission was informed that new simplified designs would be developed and will substantially lower over-passes. 

The representative of the Ministry informed the mission that a Management and Conservation Plan for the World Heritage property was being prepared. 

In conclusion, the mission noted that:

- There was no doubt that the State Party was committed to mitigate the impact of the Highway;

- The Corporation responsible for the construction of the Highway has taken into consideration the importance of the Villa and has proposed solutions that would reduce the impact of the road.  New detailed information has been submitted;

The State Party is asked to confirm the information provided verbally to the mission, and  mainly:

- The plan of the section of the Highway that will be placed in a trench;

- The design of over-passes Nos18 and 19, which need to be lowered.

- The design of the Casello di Agugliaro.

Furthermore, the State Party needs to confirm that the Management and Conservation Plan will be completed by end January 2006; The State Party should also control that no illegal development within the property has taken or takes place.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

N/A

Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7B.66

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15B.91, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Thanks the State Party of Italy for the submission of a detailed technical report;

4. Acknowledges the efforts by the State Party to amend the initial Highway construction project;

5. Takes note of the results of the joint UNESCO/ICOMOS mission to the property;

6. Requests the State Party to ensure that the management and conservation plan of the area is being finalized by early 2006;

7. Further requests the State Party to take measures to prevent any illegal or inappropriate construction within the property;

8. Urges the State Party to ensure that a strict control is exerted on land uses in the area surrounding the Villa, in order to avoid urban sprawls or development of industrial constructions that may affect the landscape;

9. Further urges the State Party to send to the World Heritage Centre a complete dossier on the project including the design of each component of the infrastructure in the area concerned;

10. Requests the State Party to prepare for each of the components of the World Heritage property of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto a management and conservation plan including buffer zones and specific measures to protect the historic landscape;

11. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1February 2006 a progress report on the implementation of the mission's recommendations and the management and conservation plan for the World Heritage property and its buffer zone for examination by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006).