For a long time now those, Italians and foreigners, who have had the opportunity to come to know Maratea wish for the recognition of its “Cultural Landscape” as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but special circumstances and temporary situations have only recently allowed the competent Municipal Administration to apply. However, the Scientific Commission, established in May 2013, has worked so hard that it was possible to submit the prescribed documentation and the laborious annexes to the UNESCO Italian National Commission on August 28th, 2015.

This Commission promptly proceeded to involve the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities for the preliminary factual investigation, Ministry which – with notes of 22-23 February 2016, after having established that “the general layout of the site appears to be that of an area characterised by a situation of undoubted cultural riches and landscape significance” – noted “the complexity and the undoubted general interest of the site… widely appreciated by visitors and scholars”, declaring its “full availability to find all useful solutions not to frustrate, but rather to enhance the valuable work carried out so far”.

Since then, the Scientific Commission has started promoting an important Congress on Byzantine Civilization in Southern Italy and in particular on the Greek-Byzantine Maratea, contributing to a better understanding of the territory by defining cultural and religious itineraries (such as the Blasiani ones), integrating the cataloguing of the sites and monuments, conducting a special study on the historical “comprehensive hospitality” of Maratea, promoting meetings, cultural events and publications of extensive involvement of local, regional and interregional communities.

The work done so far is the result of mere personal dedication, but its continuation requires the urgent involvement of the Region and the Municipality for financial resources, essential for further study and research. Meanwhile, the support of the Association “Amici di Maratea” is admirable: the Association took charge of publicising the project and other instances of voluntary work, such as “Cittadinanza Attiva”.

The hope? “From a small spark great flame hath risen”(1)

Prof. Francesco Sisinni

President of the scientific commission for the candidacy of Maratea as UNESCO world heritage

(1) Dante, Paradiso (1° canto, verse 34)