Italy's UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 55 Treasures


Trulli houses of Alberobello Overview:
Did you know Italy boasts 55 of the 168 UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Embark on a visual tour of Italy’s memorable sites that span 25 centuries of history—from Valcamonica’s rock drawings to Matera’s rock churches, and view art and architecture of special significance such as Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper and Palladio’s Villa Rotonda.

During this light-hearted course, you will discover amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites you have never heard of that celebrate Italian traditional dances, dialects, crafts, and even food, from Conegliano Veneto’s Prosecco Hills to the Val d’Orcia olive fields.

Target audience:
This course will appeal to anyone interested in the history and culture of Italy, especially if you are thinking of travelling there in the future. Both Italophiles and first-time travellers to Italy are welcome! Curiosity for a foreign landscape and culture is the only prerequisite.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will:

  • Know more about the Italian landscape and its history, art and culture.
  • Have discovered unknown spots that will help you plan your next trip to Italy.
  • Appreciate cultural tourism even more.

Course outline:
Each session includes a 2-hour lecture presentation with images and video. There is an additional 30 minutes for questions, group discussion, interaction, debate and sharing of experiences in Italy.

Session 1: Landscape
UNESCO sites throughout Italy’s landscape (from primeval beech forests to the Eolie islands and Mt Etna, Positano and Cinqueterre, Panteleria’s vines and Puglia’s olive groves etc)

Session 2: Cities and Historical Centres
UNESCO sites throughout Italy’s cities and historical centres (apart from majestic Venice, Florence and Rome: Pienza, Pise, Modena, Padua, Mantua, Siena, Ravenna etc)

Session 3: Artistic Buildings and Gardens
UNESCO sites including Italy’s artistic buildings and gardens (from Savoy and Medici’s royal palaces to Caserta’s park and many more)

Session 4: Churches
UNESCO sites including Italy’s churches (from Assisi Basilica to Aquileia, Monreale, Santa Maria del Fiore etc)

Session 5: Ancient Italy + Culture and Traditions
UNESCO sites throughout ancient Italy (from the prehistorical pile dwellings around the Alps and the Nuragic village of Barumini to the Etruscan necropolis of Cerveteri, Agrigento, Pompei). Also explore Italy’s culture and traditions (dialects, dances, songs, shows and crafts which are considered ‘immaterial’ world heritage), i.e. Sicilian ‘opera dei pupi’, Sardinian ‘canto a tenore’, Crema’s lute makers etc.

There is a short break half-way through each session, and morning tea is provided. You are welcome to bring your own refreshments if you wish.

Antonella Sarti Evans is a teaching fellow of Italian language and culture at Victoria University of Wellington. In 2001, she completed a PhD in literature of English-speaking countries, specialising in New Zealand contemporary literature, at the University of Rome, La Sapienza. Antonella is a researcher, a translator, and a writer with a passion for history and arts.

“Antonella delivers a course that is balanced and inspirational. I always want to go back to Italy immediately to check out the places she has taken us to!”, Hidden Gems of Southern Italy and its Major Islands (2019)

“Antonella is very skilful at sharing her knowledge of her country, its history culture & local foods. She is clearly passionate about Italy which gives the course life.”, Hidden Gems of Southern Italy and its Major Islands (2019)

“Fantastic course. Full of information and wonderful pictures. Contents of course had something for everyone - food, music, history, current affairs etc.”, Hidden Gems of Southern Italy and its Major Islands (2019)

“Antonella was a fabulous teacher. Heaps of really helpful and previously unknown, info re Italy, I would recommend this course to others”, Hidden Gems of Northern and Central Italy (2018)

Relevant links:
School of Languages and Cultures
Circolo Italiano di Wellington

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email:

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.