As a dedicated world traveler, Marco Nordio has visited numerous culturally significant sites and has enjoyed the chance to learn more about the history of these regions. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, more commonly referred to as UNESCO, identifies sites of particular importance to world culture or to the natural environment. UNESCO then takes steps to protect these areas against loss and to preserve them for future generations.
UNESCO currently lists 981 properties in 160 political areas; 29 of these cover territory in more than one nation. Of these sites, 759 are considered to be of great cultural value. Natural preserves comprise 193 of the areas protected by UNESCO, and 29 sites are classed as both culturally and environmentally valuable. The organization uses 10 criteria to identify potential sites for preservation. Areas chosen must meet at least one of the following criteria to become a World Heritage Site on the UNESCO list:
• Constitutes a creative masterpiece
• Demonstrates the exchange of cultural values or advances in architecture, technology or other building and landscaping techniques
• Provides a unique example of the traditions of a culture or civilization
• Serves as an exceptional example of a building style or technological advance
• Constitutes an exceptional representation of a culture
• Contains locations of major historic significance
• Shows exceptional aesthetic and natural beauty
• Demonstrates the major stages of geologic history
• Provides insights into ongoing ecological and geologic processes
• Serves as the natural habitat for endangered animals or plants
The areas chosen by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites are also evaluated for their integrity and to ensure that they can be managed and maintained effectively to preserve their value for future generations.