Heritage properties:

Scientific Area » Selection Criteria Series

Criterium Unesco III

Criteria for Which Registration is Proposed

To bear an exceptional and perhaps unique testimony
to a cultural tradition or civilization
which is still alive or long disappeared

The serial property, which includes seven components - all belonging to the same historical and cultural group – bears an exceptional and perhaps unique testimony to the disappeared Longobard civilization, witnessed by new monumental, architectural and artistic forms, the product of the reception and the integration of the highest developed local traditions.

The serial site bears the clearest testimony to the strong determination of a semi-nomad barbarian people – with no previous artistic and architectural traditions – to embrace and to portray themselves as the heirs of classical culture and civilization.

The serial property is the highest and most widely recognized expression of the new and peculiar artistic culture developed by the Longobards, which spread to all the duchies of the kingdom, featuring a unified vision and divergent objectives and expressions, according to the different customer   elites  (kings, dukes, aristocracy).

In its diversified artistic and architectural expressions, the serial site symbolizes and shows:

  • the fundamental function performed by the Longobards in merging the cultural and architectural models of the classical Roman and Hellenistic civilizations with those of the Christian-Byzantine civilization;
  • the new artistic and architectural trends established by the Longobards, together with Eastern European workers laid the foundations of the subsequent Carolingian ''Renaissance'' and – for the very first time in history – of a real ''European'' culture;
  • conservation and survival – the Longobards handed down cultural heritage dating back to antiquity, since they portrayed themselves as the heirs of a past they knew, felt and perceived as present. One of the most typical elements of their architectural complexes is the ideological and conscious use of the spolia of Roman monuments, which were reused and installed in places that emphasized their symbolic value, and integrated into high quality new elements produced for that  purpose. The use of monumental inscriptions, sometimes in gilded bronze letters, no longer used after the age of Constantine, is a further manifestation of their intent;
  • the conceptual, religious and political value the Longobards and their innovative cultural system attributed to Christian religion and traditions. Christianity accompanied the establishment and the consolidation of the Longobard kingdom and was supported by the royal court and the aristocracy, who were generous and faithful benefactors. 

The series meets the criteria of integrity and authenticity both as a whole, - since it represents the universality of the monumental expressions of the historical and cultural group of the Longobards, - and with reference to the single buildings and complexes and to the extraordinary decorations, including the rich graffiti and the inscriptions on the walls of the St. Michael's Sanctuary in the Gargano area, the most important collection of existing Early Middle Age inscriptions.