5 Sustainable Travel Destinations in Italy
Is no doubt that Italy is seen at the top of the list when it comes to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is enriched with the incredible natural gifts of the The Dolomites , Mount Etna, Monte San Giorgio, Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands) and Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe. Any nature lover or traveller interested in sustainability and the great outdoors would be destined to visit these 5 sites at least once in their life. But which one to visit first? To answer that question we put together a small summary of these gems and what makes them have outstanding universal value according to UNESCO, and most importantly for you!
Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe
The “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe” are a transnational serial property comprising 94 component parts across 18 countries. They represent an outstanding example of relatively undisturbed, complex temperate forests and exhibit a wide spectrum of comprehensive ecological patterns and processes of pure and mixed stands of European beech across a variety of environmental conditions. During each glacial phase (ice ages) of the last 1 million years, European beech (Fagus sylvatica) survived the unfavourable climatic conditions in refuge areas in the southern parts of the European continent. These refuge areas have been documented by scientists through palaeoecological analysis and using the latest techniques in genetic coding. After the last Ice Age, around 11,000 years ago, beech started expanding its range from these southern refuge areas to eventually cover large parts of the European continent. During this expansion process, which is still ongoing, beech formed different types of plant communities while occupying largely different environments. The interplay between a diversity of environments, climatic gradients and different species gene pools has and continues to shape this high diversity of beech forest communities. These forests contain an invaluable population of old trees and a genetic reservoir of beech and many other species, which are associated with and dependent on these old-growth forest habitats.
Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands)
The Aeolian Islands provide an outstanding record of volcanic island-building and destruction, and ongoing volcanic phenomena. Studied since at least the 18th century, the islands have provided the science of vulcanology with examples of two types of eruption (Vulcanian and Strombolian) and thus have featured prominently in the education of geologists for more than 200 years. The site continues to enrich the field of vulcanology.
Monte San Giorgio
The pyramid-shaped, wooded mountain of Monte San Giorgio beside Lake Lugano is regarded as the best fossil record of marine life from the Triassic Period (245 – 230 million years ago). The sequence records life in a tropical lagoon environment, sheltered and partially separated from the open sea by an offshore reef. Diverse marine life flourished within this lagoon, including reptiles, fish, bivalves, ammonites, echinoderms and crustaceans. Because the lagoon was near to land, the fossil remains also include some land-based fossils including reptiles, insects and plants. The result is a fossil resource of great richness.
Mount Etna World Heritage Site (19,237 ha) comprises the most strictly protected and scientifically important area of Mount Etna, and forms part of the Parco dell’Etna Regional Nature Park. Mount Etna is renowned for its exceptional level of volcanic activity, and the documentation of its activity over at least 2,700 years. Its notoriety, scientific importance, and cultural and educational value are of global significance.
The nine components of The Dolomites World Heritage property protect a series of highly distinctive mountain landscapes that are of exceptional natural beauty. Their dramatic vertical and pale coloured peaks in a variety of distinctive sculptural forms is extraordinary in a global context. This property also contains an internationally important combination of earth science values. The quantity and concentration of highly varied limestone formations is extraordinary in a global context, whilst the superbly exposed geology provides an insight into the recovery of marine life in the Triassic period, after the greatest extinction event recorded in the history of life on Earth. The sublime, monumental and colourful landscapes of the Dolomites have also long attracted hosts of travellers and a history of scientific and artistic interpretations of its values.
Would you like to go on a tour of these 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy?