The cathedrals of Cefalù and Monreale near Palermo, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Etna, the Villa Romana del Casale, the baroque towns of Val di Noto, the Aeolian Islands, Siracusa and the rock-cut Necropolis of Pantalica, as wells as the Mediterranean diet and the Opera dei Pupi, have all been granted UNESCO World Heritage status, making Sicily itself World Heritage Site.


But the promotion of cultural identity, the preservation of the landscape and the quality of the environment cannot be limited to passive protection but must demand more commitment (political, cultural and technical) to their recognition as collective assets and generators of a new identity, creators of value and not simply tourist attractions. Sicily thus becomes a laboratory of ideas where Unesco’s heritage sites require and demand efficient management models: new cultural and urban planning policies, new ways of leaving the territory, mobility and production, as a new conception of an historical centre accessible by pedestrians as a new way of experiencing, a more respectful use of the places by the tourists.

It’s a chance to propose a new Southern Italian identity based on quality – but not revenge – more conscious, responsible and civic where prevail the conservation of cultural resources, environmental sustainability, identity care and development of the territory.

Hope ha two beautiful children,” wrote Neruda, “anger and courage: anger at how things are, courage to change them.” This is what the UNESCO sites are screaming at us: We must have the courage to change Sicily through the strength of its beauty.