Course  |  Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites  |  Italy Online Training

Lesson 9:

20th Century

Italy has excellences belonging to modern times, as it has become an important country in the industrial development of the 19th and 20th centuries.

  • Crespi d’Adda, the industrial village
    An outstanding example of the 19th and early 20th century ‘company towns’ built in Europe and North America by enlightened industrialists to meet the workers’ needs. Crespi d’Adda, a genuine, ideal and picturesque village, was built by the Crespi Family in the 1800s and 1900s for the textile factory’s employees (and their families) that stands right next to the village. Crespi d’Adda, described as an "exceptional example of the company town phenomenon, the most complete and best-preserved in Southern Europe", received a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995.

  • Rhaetian Railway
    The Rhaetian Railway is a mountain railroad network whose lines connect Italy to Switzerland, via a long labyrinth of wide valleys and mountain passes. Added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008, the part of the Rhaetian Railway running through Albula and Bernina is not like any other: its tracks, completed at the beginning of the 1900s, had an enormous socio-economic impact on the mountain community, helping to – finally – free it from its long isolation. And with its two narrow-gauge lines, the railway infrastructure constitutes an engineering, architectonic and administrative feat without comparison, ideal for traversing the impervious mountain terrain. One of the most spectacular in the world, the Rhaetian Railway’s itinerary offers its passengers breathtaking views and intense emotions. 

Rhaetian Railway, © UNESCO,

  • Ivrea, industrial city of the 20th century
    Located in the Piedmont region, Ivrea was designed by leading Italian urban planners and architects. This architectural ensemble reflects the ideas of the Community Movement. It expresses a modern vision of the relationship between industrial production and architecture. "Ivrea Industrial City of the Twentieth Century" is the 54th Italian Unesco site. The recognition was deliberated during the work of the 42nd World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. An important recognition for a positive idea (the possible "humanization" of industrial and social transformations, and their potential compatibility with the wellbeing of local communities) that the technical skills of great professionals have transformed, here in Ivrea, into tangible achievements.



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