1.         Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto) (Italy) (C 826bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1997

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(v)

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

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/826/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/826/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

October 2012: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory Mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/826/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

Reports on the state of conservation of the World Heritage property “Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)” were submitted by the State Party in October 2012 and February 2013. From 8 to 11 October 2012, the State Party invited a World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS advisory mission to assess the state of conservation of the property and to provide technical advice on remedial measures and risk preparedness in response to the damages caused by severe floods and landslides in October 2011. The mission report is available online at the following web address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/37COM/documents.

a)  Damages caused by floods

The province of La Spezia was widely affected by the flooding on 25 October 2011, particularly the two villages of Monterosso and Vernazza, both within the boundaries of the property. Floods and landslides caused damages to buildings, infrastructure, roads and railway lines. In the wider landscape, various vineyard terraces collapsed or became unstable.

The emergency actions were efficiently coordinated by the Regional Government. Long term improvement projects are planned for implementation after the rescue phase is completed, such as the Vernazza tunnel that will divert overflow water from the Torrente Vernazzola directly into the sea.

The advisory mission noted the extraordinary efforts made jointly by the authorities, local communities, individuals and associations during and after the disaster, all of which has strengthened a feeling of solidarity in the whole region and made the fast recovery possible. The mission confirmed that the emergency measures taken were timely and the recovery actions were of a high technical level.

The mission advised that for all major recuperation and improvement projects in the property Heritage Impact Assessments would be required. They also highlighted the opportunities offered by the recovery works to improve the environmental quality of the infrastructure and to improve ecology standards.

The State Party has provided information on a proposed major project to redevelop public spaces in Vernazza. It is reported that the project could start in March 2013.

b)  Main challenges for the property and management priorities

The mission noted that the disaster had revealed the vulnerability of the property and considerable on-going threats to its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). The slow process of degradation of the cultural landscape is due to increasing socio-economic pressures rather than to the outcome of natural disasters. In the mission’s view, the main challenge concerns the long-term management of the living vineyard landscape. 

The mission stressed the importance of establishing a fully revised management plan based on an agreed list of attributes that convey the OUV. It must include strategies for tourism, agriculture, landscape and socio-economic issues as well as conservation of towns and terraces. The State Party informed that coordination work for preparation of the new Management Plan started in January 2013.

In addition, the definition of a buffer zone would strengthen the integrity of the property and be a support for a more comprehensive management approach, including environmental protection, as well as socio-economic and tourism development opportunities.

c)  Reducing the impact of potential natural disasters


Despite the recovery works, the property remains highly vulnerable to further disasters. A detailed risk management strategy for the property is also a priority issue and should be integrated in the management process. The first and foremost step to address natural disasters should be the commitment and involvement of citizens, politicians and technicians, both on the local and the regional/national level. Recognition and dissemination of knowledge about traditional land uses and traditional means of facing natural disasters are essential.  

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

The OUV of the property has not been affected by the recent floods and landslides. However, the natural disaster revealed the vulnerability of the property as a living landscape. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that there is an urgency to put in place a coordinated and balanced management system that focuses on sustaining the living vineyard landscape. There is also an urgency to revise the Management Plan alongside the development of a sustainable tourism strategy and a risk management strategy, with the overall aim of strengthening the long term sustainability of the cultural landscape. 


The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies acknowledge that the disaster could provide the catalyst for major improvement projects such as the one being planned for Vernazza, as well as large scale recuperation projects. They consider that all such projects need to be carefully considered for their impact on the OUV, through Heritage Impact Assessments and appropriate evaluation of the plans by the Advisory Bodies before commitments are made.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.78

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.77 adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Takes note of the emergency response provided by the State Party and commends the authorities for the steps undertaken for the safeguarding of the property;

4.  Notes that a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS advisory mission to the property, invited by the State Party, took place in October 2012;

5.  Requests the State Party to implement the recommendations of the mission and more particularly:

a)  Review the management system for the entire property, involving all the stakeholders, including local communities and focusing on the necessity to face the increasing socio-economic pressure, with a living landscape approach that recognizes and promotes the knowledge of traditional land uses in the property,

b)  Revise the Management Plan and incorporate within it a sustainable tourism strategy for the property, and an integrated risk management strategy,

c)  Define a buffer zone for the appropriate protection of the wider landscape and officially submit the proposal to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015 , in accordance with Paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines ;

6.  Also requests the State Party to carry out Heritage Impact Assessment studies on the major recuperation and improvement projects in the property, including the construction of the tunnel and the project to upgrade the public spaces in the Municipality of Vernazza, and to submit these with details of the plans to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before any irreversible commitments are made, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines ;

7.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above.