The serial Site 829 ‘Archaeological Areas of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata’ was listed as a World Heritage Site on December 6th, 1997, based on three ‘cultural criteria’ defined by the World Heritage Committee:
Criterion iii: “to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared”.
The archaeological sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata represent a valuable record of the daily life and society at a specific moment in history unlike any other in the world. The excavation activities, undertaken during the Bourbon period and continued over time, have enabled us to recover structures, decorations, furnishings, inscriptions and graffiti, allowing us to reconstruct all aspects of ancient life both public and private.
Criterion iv: “to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history”.
In the archaeological areas it is possible to admire the Roman city from the period between the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D. in its different urban, architectural, and decorative aspects, as well as in its distinguishing features of luxurious villas, apartments, shops, public places, the forum and the streets, and the objects from everyday life like furniture items, and tools.
Criterion v: “to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement of land-use or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change”.
The archaeological sites are located within a complex territorial context, characterized by a mixture of residential areas, production sites and other areas of great historical and environmental value, where the risks of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions is high. The incredible population density and the building expansion of the last forty years have contributed to compromising the historical-archaeological qualities, and distorting the traditional landscape identity of the territory. The territorial area covered by the Management Plan includes both the properties listed as World Heritage Sites, and a more extended territorial context comprising the three archaeological sites. This larger territorial context lies within the new boundaries proposed for the buffer zone.
Unesco Office Representative