Decision : 32 COM 8B.35
Examination of nomination of natural, mixed and cultural proprerties to the World Heritage List - Mantua and Sabbioneta (ITALY)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/8B and WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Inscribes Mantua and Sabbioneta, Italy, on the World Heritage List, on the basis of criteria (ii) and (iii);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

Mantua and Sabbioneta offer exceptional testimonies to the urban, architectural and artistic realizations of the Renaissance, linked through the visions and actions of the ruling Gonzaga family. Mantua, a town whose traces stem from the Roman period, was renovated in the 15th and 16th centuries - including hydrological engineering, urban and architectural works. The participation of renowned architects like Leon Battista Alberti and Giulio Romano, and painters like Andrea Mantegna, makes Mantua a prominent capital of the Renaissance. Sabbioneta represents the construction of an entirely new town according to the modern, functional vision of the Renaissance. The defensive walls, grid pattern of streets, role of public spaces and monuments all make Sabbioneta one of the best examples of ideal cities built in Europe, with an influence over urbanism and architecture in and outside the continent. The properties represent two significant stages of territorial planning and urban interventions undertaken by the Gonzagas in their domains.

Criterion (ii): Mantua and Sabbioneta are exceptional witnesses to the interchange of human values of the Renaissance culture. They illustrate the two main forms of Renaissance town planning: the newly founded town, based on the concept of ideal city planning, and the transformed existing town. Their importance relates also to architecture, technology and monu­mental art. The properties have played a prominent role in the diffusion of the Renaissance culture in and outside Europe.

Criterion (iii): Mantua and Sabbioneta are exceptional testimonies to a particular civilization during a specific period of history, with reflections on urbanism, architecture and fine arts. The ideals of the Renaissance, fostered by the Gonzaga family, are present in their urban morphology and architecture, their functional systems and traditional productive activities, which have mostly been preserved over time.

Both properties meet the required conditions of integrity and authenticity, since their most significant urban and architectural components have been preserved over time, as has their relationship with their settings.

The legal protective structure and management system are adequate, as both properties exhibit a good state of conservation.

4. Recommends that:

  • a) in order to ensure the optimisation of the current management system and the common management of the two properties, the State Party should implement the Management Plan included in the nomination dossier;
  • b) a more complete set of key indicators, taking into account the various components of the urban properties, be defined and implemented to complete the proposed monitoring system.
Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties: Italy
Properties: Mantua and Sabbioneta
Year: 2008
Decision Code: 32 COM 8B.35