Italy's Prosecco hills added to Unesco World Heritage list

Italy's hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, home to the world-famous sparkling wine Prosecco, have been added to the Unesco World Heritage list.

The Unesco World Heritage Committee, meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Sunday congratulated Italy and its Prosecco region, located in the northeastern Veneto region, reported the Telegraph.

Prosecco has become the most popular Italian wine abroad, with its exports seen rising by a record 21% in 2019 in foreign markets. Italy's foreign ministry and agriculture minister Gian Marco Centinaio welcomed the news, saying "this is a historic day for Veneto and for Italy as a whole."

Italy applied for world heritage status for Prosecco last year but the bid had failed by a few votes. 

The decision marks a change in fortune for Italy's relationship with Unesco, as it comes after the mayor of Venice asked them to blacklist the city because Italy’s transport minister failed to deliver a plan to avoid giant cruise ships entering central canals. 

The years-long controversy on big cruise ships being allowed to use busy canals and dock close to the city center has been reignited after a huge ship crashed into a tourist boat in the busy Giudecca canal in early June.  “We will write to Unesco to ask for the city to be put on the blacklist,” Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro told Italy’s Radio 24 on Thursday. “Venice is in danger and we feel in danger.”

Mr Brugnaro added that the city doesn’t feel represented anymore by Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, who “has an arrogance I’ve never seen in my life and pretends of having understood in half a day what I haven’t understood in 57 years.”