Decision : 43 COM 8B.37
Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene (Italy)
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Documents WHC/19/43.COM/8B.Add and WHC/19/43.COM/INF.8B1.Add,
- Inscribes Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene, Italy, on the World Heritage List as a cultural landscape on the basis of criterion (v);
- Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:
The Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene in northeast Italy is an area characterised by distinctive hogback morphological system which provides a distinctive mountain character with scenic vistas, and an organically evolved and continuing landscape comprised of vineyards, forests, small villages and agriculture. For centuries, the harsh terrain has both shaped and been adapted by distinctive land use practices. They include the land and soil conservation techniques that comprise the viticultural practices using Glera grapes to produce the highest quality Prosecco wine. Since the 17th century, the use of the ciglioni – the patterned use of grassy terraces used to cultivate areas with steep slopes – has created a distinctive chequerboard pattern with rows parallel and vertical to the slopes. In the 19th century, the specific training of the vines known as bellussera, was developed by local farmers, contributing to the aesthetic characteristics of the landscape. The mosaic appearance of the landscape is a result of historical and ongoing environmental and land use practices. The plots dedicated to vineyards, established on ciglioni, coexist with forest patches, small woodlands, hedges, and rows of trees that serve as corridors connecting different habitats. In the hogbacks, small villages are scattered along the narrow valleys or perched on the crests.
Criterion (v): The Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene is a viticulture landscape resulting from the interaction of nature and people over several centuries. The adaptation and transformation of the challenging terrain of the hogback geomorphology has required the development of specific land use practices, including: vineyard management by hand on steep slopes; the grassy terraces known as ciglioni, which follow the contours of the land, stabilising the soils and vineyards; and the bellussera training system which was developed in the area about 1880. As a result, the vineyards contribute to a distinctive ‘chequerboard’ appearance with perpendicular rows of high vines, interspersed with rural settlements, forests and small woods. Despite many changes, the history of sharecropping in this area is also reflected in the landscape patterns.
The boundary of the property is of adequate size, and contains the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value within a topographically distinct and intact landform. Despite many changes and challenges posed by pests, wars, poverty, and the industrialisation of viticulture, many of the attributes such as the vineyards, ciglioni and architectural elements demonstrate a good state of conservation, and the patches of forest have been maintained. Ecological processes are critically important for the sustainability of the landscape and the vineyards. Threats are currently managed, although the state of conservation of some elements (particularly architectural and urban elements in the buffer zone) require improvement, and climate change has accentuated the incidence of landslides. The landscape could be vulnerable to irreversible change due to the pressures of production of Prosecco within a growing global market. Agricultural and viticultural techniques for maintaining the integrity of the landscape are continuing, including manual harvesting.
The main attributes of the property relate to the distinctive landscape, where nature and human history have shaped and been shaped by an adapted and specific system for viticulture and land use. Despite many changes, the attributes demonstrate authenticity, and are documented through sources such as inventories and cadasters, historical and religious paintings, and historical documents that demonstrate the introduction of the ciglioni, and the operation of the sharecropping system from the first land registries in the 18th century.
Protection and management requirements
The property and its attributes are subject to protection measures at national and local levels; and municipalities and professional associations have introduced additional safeguards through territorial planning tools and the formation of legal and voluntary charters. The protection of the rural landscape is primarily guaranteed by the rules of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG that favour the maintenance of the vineyards, ciglioni and other attributes that are fundamental for maintaining local traditions and to the protection of the agricultural biodiversity and associated ecosystem services.
Almost all of the property has been nominated to the National Register of Historical Rural Landscapes, a programme developed by the Ministry of Agriculture for the protection of agricultural rural landscapes. The forest vegetation is protected by the forest restrictions included in the National Code for Cultural Heritage, as well as by the management plan of the Site of Community Interest (SCI) of the EU Natura 2000 network applicable to the area. The buildings of historical and monumental value are all protected at national level by the Codice dei Beni Culturali e del Paesaggio (Cultural Heritage and Landscape Code) issued by Legislative Decree No. 42, 22 January 2004, along with all public buildings, state property and church-owned buildings that are more than 50 years old. The legal protection could be further strengthened through the implementation of the Detailed Landscape Plan (Piano Paesaggistico di Dettaglio) (PPD) at the regional level; the implementation of Intermunicipal regulation of rural police (Regolamento intercomunale di polizia rural); and the full implementation of the ‘Technical rule - Articolo unico’ in all relevant municipalities.
The management of the site is primarily linked to the plans and planning processes developed by the local authorities – the Veneto Region and the Treviso Province – which support and guarantee the participation of all stakeholders through a specific Regional Law (No. 45/2017). Construction of new production areas and buildings in the agricultural zone that are not strictly necessary for the working of agricultural land is not permitted. The Management Plan requires further development, adoption and implementation.
- Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:
- Clarifying the extent of the Commitment Area (in hectares),
- Providing detailed mapping and inventories of the attributes of the property (particularly the vernacular, historic or modern architecture and settlements), with a clear distinction of the contents of the property and the buffer zone, and including inventories of flora and fauna,
- Establishing as a priority, a detailed condition assessment of all the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value, and incorporating this into the management system and monitoring arrangements,
- Expanding the description of the present-day socio-economic system in relation to its history as part of the management and planning for the long-term sustainability of the cultural landscape,
- Identifying and planning for the improvement of visually detrimental infrastructure, settlements and industrial facilities in the buffer zone (particularly to the north of the property and in the plain),
- Improving the state of conservation of buildings in the property and buffer zone – particularly the vernacular architecture – based on a thorough inventory and condition assessment,
- Improving the documentation of the contributions to the landscape character by historical and current forest management,
- Further developing the monitoring system by adding indicators for the assessment of the state of conservation and the biodiversity of the property,
- Further strengthening the protection for the landscape through implementation of the Detailed Landscape Plan (Piano Paesaggistico di Dettaglio) (PPD) at the regional level, the implementation of Intermunicipal regulation of rural police (Regolamento intercomunale di polizia rural), and through the implementation of the recently finalised adoption of the ‘Technical Rule – Articolo unico’ by all relevant municipalities,
- Fully including the property in the National Register of Historical Rural Landscapes, and fully incorporate its rules into the management system,
- Further developing and finalising the management plan,
- Developing sustainable tourism planning based on an approach which incorporates the property, buffer zone and Commitment Area, giving attention to the quality and consistency of new tourism facilities and infrastructure,
- Enhancing the involvement of local communities in the management structures, and ensuring that local benefits flow from tourism and sustainable development strategies,
- Ensuring that all new developments – including tourism infrastructure and wind or solar power installations in the buffer zone – are subject to rigorous Heritage Impact Assessment processes that consider their potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and its setting prior to their approval.