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Bologna’s Porticoes recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site



Bologna’s Porticoes recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site

Webinar with Dr Kathleen Olive and Dr Michael Hill

The Porticoes of Bologna have been recently included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Italian Cultural Institute in Sydney therefore intends to celebrate this important event with a webinar held by Dr Kathleen Olive and Dr Michael Hill, who will entertain a conversation about the history of the porticoes and their importance from a cultural and historical point of view.

logo unescoItaly can boast the merit of being the country with the largest number of sites (59) already part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. In addition to the sites included in this list, which comprises e.g. the historic centre of Florence and Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Villa d'Este (Tivoli), the Dolomites, Mount Etna etc., there is a so-called Intangible Heritage, which includes performing arts, rites and festivals, languages and traditional crafts. The work of the ‘Pupi Siciliani’, the Sardinian canto a tenores, the Mediterranean diet, the art of the "Neapolitan pizza maker" and mountaineering are just a few examples of the Italian Intangible Heritage.

The recent inclusion of the porticoes of Bologna in the UNESCO World Heritage list together with the Montecatini thermal baths and the pictorial complex located within the Padua city walls, including among others the Scrovegni Chapel, represents the culmination of an intense promotion campaign carried out over the years by public (andportici interna not only) institutions of Bologna and the Emilia Romagna Region. The title was awarded for the 62 km of porticoes in the city, 42 of which in the historic centre, recognized by UNESCO as a unicum not only from an architectural point of view, but also from a social perspective. Erected in the Middle Ages for various reasons, including satisfying the enormous housing demand of the students of the oldest university in the world, they are now a kind of living room where you can comfortably stroll and meet in the delightful Emilian city. To use the words of Archbishop Matteo Zuppi: "it is the city that becomes a home and the home that becomes a city". The arcades hold together religious and secular sentiments: they accompany the ascent to the sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca and have always been a meeting place, shelter and protection for anyone who seeks them. Francesco Guccini compared them to the thighs of a mother who cradles her children. Today they also represent an invitation to return to a normal life after the lockdowns imposed by the pandemic. In the UNESCO dossier, the leading features were, in addition to San Luca, the vast portico dei Servi where the traditional Christmas market takes place, but also the more modern arcades such as the one in the suburban district of Barca, where public housing chose to replicate the model of the porticoes, also to underline the roots of this architectural element in the most intimate soul of the city.

Emilia has always been a region committed to protecting the environment, and this meeting will also be an opportunity to present the Festival dello Sviluppo Sostenibile (Festival of Sustainable Development), now in its 5th edition, which will take place in the neighbouring city of Parma from 28 September to October 28, with many events aimed at raising public awareness on such a relevant topic. To find out more, visit the Festival website: 

kathleen oliveDr Kathleen Olive has a PhD in Italian Studies from the University of Sydney, where she taught Italian language, literature and history for a number of years. Her particular area of expertise is fifteenth-century Florentine literature and her edition, with Professor Nerida Newbigin, of the celebrated Codice Rustici was the official gift of the Florentine Curia to Pope Francis on his first visit to Florence in 2015. For more than fifteen years, Kathleen has led cultural tours to Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Japan and the USA, and she is well known for her lectures on Italian art and history at the Centre for Continuing Education, Sydney, the WEA, Sydney, the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society (ADFAS) and the Italian Cultural Institute in Sydney. Kathleen is currently Head of Product at Renaissance Tours.

Dr Michael Hill holds a Master of Arts with Honours in Italian Renaissance Studies frommichael hill the University of Sydney (1990) and a PhD in Art History and Theory, also from the University of Sydney (1998). Michael has been Head of Art History & Theory at the National Art School since 2011. He lectures on modern, contemporary, and Australian art, as well as conducting specialist electives on subjects such as architecture and 17th century painting. His research interests include Baroque art, portraiture, classical architecture, and art historical methodology. Michael is also a curator and advisor to Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi, Cottesloe, and Denmark.

enit logoThe webinar will be held IN ENGLISH.

It will be possible to access the event by registering HERE


Date: Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Time: At 6:00 pm

Organized by : Istituto Italiano di Cultura

In collaboration with : Italian National Tourist Board

Entrance : Free