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The Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. (Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene

Date of Submission: 05/10/2010
Criteria: (iii)(v)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of Italy to UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
Provincia di Treviso, Regione Veneto.
Coordinates: 45 52 46.59 N 11 59 25.22 E
Ref.: 5566
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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party

Description

 The area extends through the band of hills of the Province of Treviso in the Veneto Region in northern Italy and encompasses the area between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. The zone includes a series of hill chains - running from east to west - which follow one after the other from the lowlands to the Pre-Alps, lying equidistant between the sheltering Dolomites to the north and the Adriatic, which has a positive effect on the climate and countryside. While Conegliano plays host to famous wine institutes, Valdobbiadene is surely the productive heart of the area for wine. The steep slopes of the hills make it difficult to mechanize the work and consequently managing the vineyards has almost always been left in the hands of small growers.

It is truly thanks to this large peaceful army of men and the love that they have for their land that it has been possible to preserve these beautiful hills and to create a strong bond between man and the rural countryside. The result of this strong bond is an outstanding example of  how this ancient culture is closely related to the land.

Viticulture in the hills of Conegliano - Valdobbiadene, dates back to ancient times evidenced by the work of man who has, over the centuries, sculpted the sunniest slopes. The Prosecco vine has been cultivated on these hills for over two hundred years. The exact period of the first human settlements for grape growing  and also the exact origins of this variety of wine are somewhat of a mystery; but some would have it that this particular wine was, in fact, already known as Pucino in the time of the Roman Empire.
The many embankments, ramps and terraces have slowly molded the sunny faces of the hills over the centuries, indelibly modifying their profiles and making them a unique example of an intimate interaction of human rural production and nature. The entire landscape of  Conegliano and Valdobbiadene wine region, including both vineyards and long established settlements, vividly illustrates the specialized form of traditional land-use that it represents. Combined works of nature and humankind, they express a long and close relationship between peoples and their natural environment.

Moreover, since the beginning of the XIX century, with the foundation of The School of Viticulture and Oenology and The Experimental Centre for Viticulture, both in Conegliano, research into this vine variety has greatly increased and the Prosecco has spread throughout the area

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

 The candidacy of the area is supported by many factors that make this site unique and well recognizable as a cultural landscape.

First of all, the peculiar geology of the area (the Alps formation process), a long lasting erosive progression that has given to the site particular shapes. This unique land shaping development can easily be seen from the satellite pictures or from an aerial view.  The area represents an outstanding cultural landscape of great beauty, containing historic towns and villages, and cultivated lands formed by many centuries of interaction between their population and the physical environment.

Also most of human settlements all have a relevant historic value and date back to the XI and XVI centuries. The vernacular buildings, in fact, have characteristics and materials deeply connected to the nature of the site and to the local history.

Moreover, representations of this historic landscape can be found in the iconography of local artists since a distant past, the two most famous artists are from the Renaissance period: Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano and Giovanni Bellini. In the paintings of both artists the representations of this area are precise and recognizable.

In this territory the tradition of wine growing and of sparkling wine have also a scientific and technical foundation. In the last two centuries,  there has been a research and development work carried out first by the Accademie Agrarie of the XIX century and then by the first Italian school of grape growing ( Istituto Carletti established in 1876). This school contributed to the formation a big quantity of specialists for the national and international sectors. Another important institution is the Centro Ricerche Agricole - Consiglio per la Ricerca e la Sperimentazione in Agricoltura established in 1923 that with its labs and unique library is constantly giving  a relevant contribution to the improvement of grapevines and cultivation techniques.

Criterion(iii)

The grapevine cultivation in the indicated area represents a living tradition that is, at least, 1000 years old.  Specially in the last two centuries, this tradition paved the way for specific and unique research project and experimentations carried on by well known  researches and trail-blazing institutions including one of the first wine schools of the World: Istituto Cerletti established in 1876 and the Istituto Sperimentale per la Viticultura established in 1923. These institutions still play a very important role in the formative, cultural and scientific field for the national and international wine and grapevine industry and market.

Criterion(v)

In this area a particular morphological system that also has spectacular landscapes, a peculiar pedological and microclimate characteristics, have helped the cultivation of grapevine, in particular Prosecco.

Grapevine plantations together with human settlements have shaped and transformed the area, and now are indissolubly bonded. A unique and particular environment is the outcome of centuries of interaction between humans settlements and nature. This environment, due its fragile characteristic, constantly needs human intervention.

Criterion(vi)

Two of the most important masters of the Renaissance period, Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano (1459 - 1518) and Giovanni Bellini (1430 - 1516) , have often reproduced in their paintings the candidate area with many detailed descriptions of the architectonical, physic and natural characteristics. Many of these description can still be recognized in today's landscape.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

 The land in the proposed sites is destined solely to viticulture and is constituted only by small and very small farms, 50% of them are individual firms.

Recent and modern buildings are very few on the upper hill side, absolutely not present in the hill side of Collalto and moderately present in the villages on the lower hill side.

The candidate area is protected by preservation measures of the Piani Regolatori (the formulation and application of such measures as laws, economic plans, urbanism, etc., to ensure a balance between the population's needs and the country's resources) of the interested Comuni and of the Vincolo Paesaggistico (an instrument provided by the Italian legislation to ensure the protection of natural and cultural landscapes of outstanding beauty and/or interest) of the area

Comparison with other similar properties

 The first comparison that comes to mind can be the one with the region of Tokaj in Hungary, or the region of Alto Douro in Portugal and even the Wachau region in Austria. All these sites have something in common with the candidate site. All of them have either singular morphology, a complex ecosystem, multiple cultivation techniques, many productions, scientific and technical importance and artistic representation.

However, the Colline of Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene is the only site that has all these characteristics at the same time, and for this reason is a unicum and represent the "combined works of nature and of man" designated in Article 1 of the Convention