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Italy Is the Country With the Most World Heritage Sites


This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Katharina Buchholz


Italy is home to the largest number of UNESCO world heritage sites. After the 2020/21 announcement of new sites, the country's count went up to 58 world heritage locations. New additions were the porticoes, or sheltered walkways, of Bologna, the fourteenth-century fresco cycles of Padua as well as the Montecatini Terme of Tuscany, part of the designation of "The Great Spa Towns of Europe", which stretch across seven countries. As far as 2022/23 additions go, there is only one Italian contender - the karst caves on the Northern Apennines - but attention has been turning to another development: The nomination of World Heritage site Venice on Monday for the list of endangered monuments. A release by UNESCO said that the city administration had not done enough to finalize safeguards against climate change and over-tourism threats.


China is the runner-up behind Italy, with a total of 56 properties. Another one, the tea plantations on Jingmai Mountain in Pu'er City, could be added this year. With 51 world heritage sites, Germany ranks third ahead of Spain and France after having made a whopping five new additions in 2020/21. Two new entries are possible this year - the cultural landscapes of the Ammergau in Bavaria and the medieval Jewish heritage of Eastern city Erfurt. France has three sites in the race in 2022/23, while Spain has one, meaning that another reshuffle is at least possible.


In total, the UNESCO list includes 1,157 monuments in 167 countries as world heritage sites. No matter how many additions, any new property on the list is sure to boost tourism when winning the prestigious label. The U.S. remained at 24 listed sites ahead of the 2022/23 announcement - rank 12. The listed properties include the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, the Taos Pueblo and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. The UK added two properties in 2020/21 - the slate landscape of Northwest Wales and Bath as part of the spa towns of Europe - but sadly also lost one. The Maritime Mercantile City in Liverpool was deleted due to new building developments in its area. In 2022/23, none are nominated while an assessement of the status of Stonehenge - threatened in its status by the planned construction of a highway tunnel - is still outstanding.


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