Why is the Historic Centre of Florence a World Heritage Site?

The Historic Centre of Florence was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1982. The justification for its inscription is contained within the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, which articulates the criteria for inscription of the site, its integrity, authenticity and the management system for its protection. The Historic Centre of Florence is considered to be a unique artistic achievement embedding museums, churches, palaces and globally renowned cultural goods of inestimable value. The city has also been able to exert an important cultural, economic and architectural influence in Italy and Europe for centuries, defining itself as the birthplace of modern Humanism and Renaissance values. The stratification of these values is also enriched by the relationship between the Historic Centre and the surrounding hills, which form a perfect harmonious backstage.

What is the area of the city of Florence inscribed on the World Heritage List?

The Core Zone inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1982 coincides with the Historic Centre of Florence, traditionally identified with the area included within the avenues corresponding to the ancient circle of the fourteenth-century walls. In 2021, a boundary modification of the perimeter was approved to include the complex of San Miniato al Monte and the surrounding area. The Buffer Zone of the site encompasses the eighteen Belvedere points and includes part of the territories of four municipalities: the Municipality of Florence, the Municipality of Sesto Fiorentino, the Municipality of Fiesole and the Municipality of Bagno a Ripoli.

What is the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV)?

Cultural and/or natural significance that is so exceptional that it transcends national boundaries and is of common importance to present and future generations of humanity as a whole, constituting the fundamental requirement for the inscription of porperties on the World Heritage List. The properties  deemed to hold Outstanding Universal Value can be included in the World Heritage List if:

  • They satisfy one or more Selection Criteria;
  • They respect the conditions of Integrity and Authenticity;
  • They have an adequate Protection and Management System to ensure their safeguarding
Who manages the Historic Centre of Florence as a World Heritage site?

The Steering Committee, made up of 8 members, has the main task of following the updating and implementation of the Management Plan, and recognises the Municipality of Florence as the focal point for the site, responsible for coordinating all the stakeholders and duty bearers as well as carrying out secretarial and monitoring activities. The Steering Committee is currently composed of the Municipality of Florence (Florence World Heritage and Relations with UNESCO Office), the Tuscan Regional Authorities and the Ministry of Culture (Regional Secretariat of Tuscany). Other institutions that usually participate in the Steering Committee are: Service II – UNESCO Office, Ministry of Culture (MiC); Superintendence for Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of the Metropolitan City of Florence and the Provinces of Pistoia and Prato (MiC); the Directorate-General for the Museums of Tuscany (MiC); the Metropolitan City of Florence and the Autonomous State Museums of Florence (Uffizi Galleries, Gallery of the Academy, National Museum of Bargello).

Which are the 18 Viewpoints?

The Viewpoints are 18 points considered significant to monitor the transformations that may impact on the urban skyline of the Historic Centre of Florence and its Outstanding Universal Value. The eighteen points and the relative visual axes have been included in Table 3 “Protection” of the Structural Plan, approved by the Municipality of Florence on 31 December 2014. The points identified are: Santa Lucia alla Castellana; third terrace of Villa La Pietra; Monte Rinaldi; Villa Medici di Fiesole; Badia Fiesolana; the tower of Villa Fabbricotti; Orti del Parnaso; Piazza Desiderio; Via del Loretino; Via di Monte Uliveto; Via di Bellosguardo; Via di San Carlo; Boboli; Kaffeehaus at Giardini Bardini; Piazzale Michelangiolo Ovest; San Miniato al Monte; Santa Maria alla Badiuzza; San Tommaso a Baroncelli.

What is the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA)?

Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) is a methodology to monitor and measure the effects of changes and transformations on the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage Sites. The process is based on the Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for Cultural World Heritage Properties drafted by ICOMOS in 2011 and currently being updated. It is an effective tool to identify potential impacts of development actions/projects on the Outstanding Universal Value and attributes of World Heritage sites; to assess such impacts in a systematic and consistent way; and to help limit negative effects through the proposal and potential implementation of mitigation measures.

What is a World Heritage Management Plan?

The Management Plan for the Historic Centre of Florence aims at the sustainable and participatory management of the World Heritage property in order to preserve its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) over time. The actions and strategies defined within the Management Plan are not only related to the conservation and enhancement of the site: the document represents a useful tool for the sustainable development of the city and the promotion of the city’s tangible, intangible, natural and cultural heritage.

What is the Action Plan of the Management Plan?

The Action Plan is the concrete and effective application of the Management Plan: it identifies the operational strategies to be implemented and the projects to be carried out to support both the conservation of the integrity and authenticity of the site and the development of the Historic Centre. The Action Plan is divided into Macro Areas that respond to the criticalities and needs of the World Heritage Site, within which are included strategic projects implemented both by the Municipality of Florence and by institutions and associations in the territory.

How will the Action Plan be monitored?

The evaluation parameters of the Macro Areas and the efficacy indicators of each strategic project are subject to a cyclical monitoring process. The monitoring serves to determine the effectiveness of the management system for the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value by measuring the progress and results of the Action Plan, in order to provide information on what is happening and how much of the planned programme has been achieved. This process involves the collection of data and the iterative exchange of information to assess the feasibility and measurability of projects, alongside a process of participation and evaluation by means of meetings with stakeholders. The results of the process are presented in the Monitoring of the Management Plan, which is usually drafted about 2 years after the publication of the last update of the Management Plan.