Giorgio Gianighian (Venice International University)


From 09:15
to 10:45
From 09:15
to 10:45

Course description

The course is divided in three modules, in such an order as to allow the students to follow the historical intellectual development that brought the monuments – and much later historic landscape and urban fabrics –  to be considered and treated as heritage in the world, starting with the fathers of the discipline in the 19th century and including its twentieth century development, up to the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention. The implementation of this charter will be analysed in several countries, along with the Nomination processes. At the end of Module 2 each student will present a Nomination selected in their home country.

The final task will concern Italian sites in Veneto that will be visited:

  1. Venice and its Lagoon
  2. Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua
  3. City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto
  4. The Dolomites.

The students, in their final written report, will be invited to analyse the Nominations, highlighting their strong and weak points.



Module 1: History and Theory of Restoration

It was during the 19th c. that restoration became a real issue in Europe: our efforts will focus on the debate between the theories of Viollet-le-Duc and those of Ruskin, as representatives of opposite concepts of the monument and its preservation. Twentieth-century theoretical development brought into being the various Charters on conservation, along with the W. H. Convention and its implementation instrument, the Practical Guidelines. These are constantly in the process of adjusting to an ever richer and more complex reality, which will be analysed in this part of the course.

Module 2: Analysing a relevant number of Nominations around the world.

Through the analyses, the students will get acquainted with the procedures, the different problems to be dealt with and, in more than one case, the contradictions, involved in the process. These are the sites:

Austria: Hallstatt-Dachstein/ Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape, Wachau Cultural Landscape;

China: Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples, Chengde, Longmen Grottoes;

Germany: Classical Weimar (with Goethe’s House);

India: Mountain Railways of India (limited to the first, The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway);

Iran: Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System, Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran;

Italy: as above indicated;

Japan: Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama;

Libya: Old Town of Ghadames;

Mexico: Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco;

Nepal: Kathmandu Valley;

Thailand: Historic City of Ayutthaya;

UK: Frontiers of the Roman Empire (limited to Hadrian’s Wall), Blenheim Palace.

Module 3: Nomination fieldwork in four Italian WHS

The sustainability of the Nomination of a WHS, along with its Management Plan (MP) are both essential requirements. How do they work in the four Veneto WH sites? We will try to verify if the legal framework for their protection, with the tools foreseen by the MP, are working efficiently or not. Summing up the results of our analyses, we will be able to validate the Nomination Dossier criteria, the division of the core and buffer zone, and finally to evaluate the efficiency of the Management Plan, with each student writing a report for a chosen WHS.


Learning outcomes

As a first result of the course the students will get acquainted with the domain of restoration, from its historical beginnings up to our times, as well as in several different contexts in the world. The second result to be obtained will be the understanding of the criteria inspiring the selection of the most important sites of outstanding universal value and ways of protecting them.


Teaching and Evaluation methods

Lectures for the first two modules, with some discussion seminars starting with the second module; then, site visits and more discussion seminars with the presentations of the students' projects in progress.

The exam will consist in the presentation of a written report (3600 words plus illustrations) for the chosen WHS by each student or group of students.

20% Participation
30% General preparation concerning Modules 1 - 2
50% Student final written evaluation report to the four Veneto W.H.S.


Bibliography (to be discusses in a seminar, assessing the reading load)

-N. Stanley Price, M. Kirby Talley Jr., A. Melucco Vaccaro (eds), Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 1996.

-J. Jokilehto, A history of architectural conservation, Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann, 1999.

-G. Gianighian, Italy, in R. Pickard (ed), Conservation of the European Built Heritage Series (Volume 1°): Policy and Law in Heritage Conservation, E&FN SPON, London & New York, 2001, pp. 184-206.

-Idem, Venice, Italy in R. Pickard (ed), Conservation of the European Built Heritage Series (Volume 2°): Management of Historic Centres, E&FN SPON, London & New York, 2001, pp. 162-186.

-N. Mitchell, M. Roessler, P.M. Tricaud, A Handbook for Conservation and Management. World Heritage Cultural Landscapes, 26, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Paris 2009.

-B. S. Frey, P. Pamini, Making world heritage truly global: The Culture certificate Scheme, Oxonomics 4 (2009),  1-9.

-B. S. Frey, L. Steiner, World Heritage List: does it make sense?, International Journal of Cultural Policy, 2011, 1-19, first article.



Isola di San Servolo
30133 Venice,

phone: +39 041 2719511
fax:+39 041 2719510

VAT: 02928970272