This post is about a UNESCO world heritage site in Sicily! Classy or what?
There are altogether 44 UNESCO world heritage sites in Italy. The criteria are that World Heritage Sites can be “natural” or “cultural” places of general wonderfulness. That’s my handy summary of a long and tedious paragraph.
Interestingly enough, the UK only has 28 of them, and the USA has an embarrassingly modest 21. I bet they wish they’d been invaded by the Romans! Meanwhile Germany has a hefty score of 37. Now I’m beginning to smell a rat. How can they possibly have that many? I’ve been to Germany, all over the place. They have lovely sausages and it’s very clean but, come off it! World heritage sites? I like Germans a lot but, let’s face it, Germany’s boring. I mean, really boring.
I’ve just checked and found that Greece has a mere 17 sites of outstandingly superlative phenomenalness (or whatever it was). Now I know that this whole system is fiddled and meaningless.
And let’s come back to the USA. Much as it pains me to pass up any opportunity to take the piss out of Yanks – it’s one of my more constructive hobbies – I have to admit that the American countryside is breathtaking, staggering, full of uniqueness and generally, everywhere you go, utterly marvelous. If they’ve only registered 21 sites so far, it’s bound to be because they’re too busy hiking around all the rest and enjoying the views.
Canada also has just 16. I’ve never been to Canada but I’d love to go, and I bet they have far more stunning places than 16. My evidence lies in a wonderful blog I found recently, containing truly uplifting photographs by a Canadian professional photographer:
Whoah, stop! Before you rush off there, look at my slide show of the Villa Romana Del Casale, in Piazza Armerina. This is one of the jewels of Sicily.
The villa was built in the 4th century AD and was used continuously until it was buried by a landslide in the 12th century. The villa was huge and would have been built and decorated at staggering expense. It was the manor house of a colossal agricultural estate, owned and run by an Italian aristocrat. Sicily was regarded as a terribly primitive province by the Romans (it still is) but farms here were prized, as the land was so fertile.
If you’re not too impressed by the photo quality, my defense is that my digital camera is 12 years old and does have far fewer pixels than my 5-year-old cell phone.
Anyway, what do you think of the place?