Scientific Area » Selection Criteria Series
Criterium Unesco VI
Criteria for Which Registration is Proposed
To be directly or tangibly associated with events
or living traditions, with ideas, and beliefs,
with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance
The Longobard heritage in Italy is remarkable: from the language we speak today to people's and place names – even more significant is their contribution to the handing down of forms and models – as well as the remains themselves – of classical antiquity, an indisputable point of reference for artists of all ages.
By the same token, the Longobards made a fundamental contribution to European culture with the foundation of the large monasteries, and the reconstruction and extension of existing ones, including Bobbio, Montecassino and Farfa monasteries.
In so doing, they encouraged the transcription and survival of literary, artistic and scientific works of art, dating back to antiquity. The relevant handing down of iconographies through manuscripts in miniature made a further contribution to a continuum stretching from antiquity up to the present day.
Moreover, Longobard culture survives today in the ongoing importance attributed to their places of worship, in particular to a number of monasteries, where the architectural stratification, a sign of continuity, increases their value and authenticity.
The pilgrimage to the grotto of St. Michael – still partly accessible along the ancient route of the Via Sacra Langobardorum – is a prominent example of worship practices directly related to medieval traditions.
The worship to St. Michael in the Gargano area, transformed and strengthened by the Longobards, led to the construction of numerous dedicated churches and other places of worship and as many statues of the Archangel Michael, with open wings, holding aloft his sword, on top of many bell-towers in Europe, a typically Longobard symbol in defence of local communities.
Notably, the history of the Longobards is featured in important literary works – including Historia Langobardorum written by Paul the Deacon in the 8th century, Adelchi written by Alessandro Manzoni in the 19th-century and Rodelinda, Regina de' Longobardi (Rodelinda, Queen of Longobards), an opera by Georg Friedrich Händel. All the above-mentioned works of art portrayed the Longobard cultural experience and rendered it universal