1.         Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande, Modena (Italy) (C 827)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1997

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)

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/827/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/827/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

7 and 8 June 2012, in close consultation with the Italian authorities, UNESCO dispatched an urgent technical mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports


Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/827/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

 On 20 May 2012, a powerful earthquake hit the region of Emilia Romagna, in the north of Italy, followed by numerous aftershocks, notably on 29 May and 3 June. This caused several casualties and considerable damage to several important historic buildings, some of which unfortunately collapsed.

On 7 and 8 June 2012, in close consultation with the Italian authorities, UNESCO dispatched an urgent technical mission aimed to assess the damage at the three World Heritage Properties located in the affected region, i.e. Mantua and Sabbioneta; the Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande, Modena; and Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta.

The situation at the three properties is serious and characterized by widespread damage, although not catastrophic. In most of the buildings observed, the earthquake caused the opening of cracks, often along previous ones that had been repaired in the past, and the fall of small architectural parts on the top of the tallest buildings as well as of parts of plaster and stucco decorations. In the most worrying cases, whole structural elements seemed to have moved with possible risks for their overall stability. The complex water management system of the Po Delta, near Ferrara, has been also partially disrupted. No damage was reported, on the other hand, to the two sites included in the tentative List of Italy within the region affected by the earthquake, i.e. the “Porticoes of Bologna”, in Bologna, and the “Scrovegni Chapel”, in Padua.

 In terms of the response by the competent authorities, they are at present doing their utmost, working around the clock in difficult conditions, to assess the damage and carry out emergency interventions. The interventions included localized propping, reinforcement rings of towers and the removal and storage in safe premises of items at risk from buildings, such as paintings or statues. The sheer number of the buildings and sites to control, however, is posing a real challenge, especially considering the risk of new seismic events. In the longer term, it will be essential to introduce new approaches to the conservation and management of the three affected properties so as to strengthen their resilience to hazards such as the recent earthquake, which had apparently not been anticipated.

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


Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7C

The World Heritage Committee,

1.Having examined document WHC-12/36.COM/7C,

2.Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7C and 35 COM 12E adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

Significant factors negatively impacting the Outstanding Universal Value

3.Takes note of the statistical analysis and encourages the World Heritage Centre to continue with the production of such informative data, including regional analyses;

Recurrent conservation issues

4.Also takes note of the completion of the independent review process on extractive industries and World Heritage properties as a contribution to the Policy Guidelines development and invites the World Heritage Centre to disseminate this review as widely as possible;

Disaster risk reduction

5.Requests States Parties to make every endeavor to take into consideration disaster risks, including from human-induced hazards, in the management plans and systems for the World Heritage properties located in their territories;  

6.Also requests the World Heritage Centre, with the support of the Advisory Bodies, to continue working with global and regional institutions involved in disaster risk management, with an aim to mainstream a concern for heritage within their policies and programmes as well as in UN-led processes such as the Post-Disaster-Needs-Assessment (PDNA);

Follow-up to decisions 35 COM 7C and 35 COM 12E

7.Further takes note of the information provided regarding the recognition for the protectors of World Heritage properties in conflict and post-conflict zones, including through the use of blue/green berets or other appropriate insignia;

8.Takes note furthermore of the correspondence process in place to increase dialogue between the States Parties, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies regarding conservation issues at World Heritage properties;

9.Thanks the Government of Flanders for its support to the establishment of a “state of conservation information system” hosted on the World Heritage Centre’s website and further requests the World Heritage Centre to present a progress report on the database and its access online, during the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2013;

Other conservation issues not reported on at the 36th session under Items 7A and 7B

10.  Expresses its concern with regard to the state of conservation of World Heritage property of “Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annuziata” and urges the State Party of Italy to intensify its efforts towards implementing the Committee’s decision taken at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011);

11.  Extends its sympathy to the victims of the earthquake in northern Italy; also encourages the State Party of Italy to continue its important efforts for the assessment of the damage occurred and for the planning and implementation of the necessary remedial measures, including with a view to strengthening the overall resilience of the three properties in the future against all possible hazards; and requests furthermore the State Party of Italy to provide to the World Heritage Centre updated information on the situation and to coordinate with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies possible initiatives for the recovery and restoration of the three affected properties;

12.   Finally requests the State Party of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to halt the proposed development of a golf resort at the World Heritage property “Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast” until its potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage property has been assessed.