There are many reasons to want to protect and bestow upon the Amalfi region the most prestigious titles and awards possible. Those of us who have, or have had the privilege of visiting the area, especially atop the cliffs in the town of Agerola, can tell you of the relationship between man and land that has existed here for centuries. In fact you can experience this being tenaciously played out every day by those who still farm the cliff terraces, following in the foot steps of previous and countless generations. Here, grandmothers and grandfathers stand alongside their sons, daughters, grandsons and grand daughters, nieces and nephews, working to produce grapes for wines as well as fruits and vegetables for the family table throughout the year.
Miguel Clüsener-Godt, a delegate of UNESCO‘s ‘Man and biosphere’ programme (Mab), arrived in Salerno on Sunday for a 3 day visit, officially marking the course towards the Amalfi coast being named a ‘UNESCO World Mab Biosphere Reserve’.
The global programme is described by UNESCO as an ‘Intergovernmental Scientific Programme aiming to improve relationships between people and their environment’. Launched in 1970, there are presently 580 sites in 114 countries worldwide that have been awarded the prestigious Mab title, 8 of these sites are in Italy. Of these 2 are already in Campania: the Cilento and Vallo di Diano Park in Salerano (1997), and the area of Somma-Vesuvio and Miglio d’Oro in Naples (1997). The other 6 Italian sites are:
- 1977 – Collemeluccio-Montedimezzo, Isernia, Molise
- 1997 – Circeo: south of Rome on the Tyrrhenian coast
- 1979 – Miramare: on the Gulf of Trieste
- 2002 – Valle del Ticino: in northern Italy along the Ticino River
- 2003 – Tuscan Island: in the Tyrrhenian Sea
- 2004 – Selva Pisana: on the Mediterranean coast west of Pisa between Viareggio and Livorno in the Tuscany Region
The work for inclusion on the UNESCO MaB list, began way back in 2009 with the creation of the Acarbio Association (Associazione Costiera Amalfitana Riserva Biosfera). According to Acarbio, Clüsener-Godt will visit the towns of Amalfi, Ravello, Positano, Tramonti and Scala. During this time he will verify the necessary requisites for candidature, one of which includes being a World UNESCO Heritage site, already achieved in 1997.
Included amongst the delegation is Cipriano Marin, secretary of the Canary Islands Unesco Centre, who was invited by the Acarbio Association. The project of the Acarbio Association has been made possible thanks mostly to the contributions of the province of Salerno with the support of the Regional Park of the Lattari mountains, the Campania Region, the municipalities of Maiori, Ravello, Scala, Vietri sul Mare, the Università Parthenope di Napoli, the Protected Marine reserve of Punta Campanella, of the Centro di Cultura e Storia Amalfitana and of the Italia Nostra association.
The official visit is expected to tour the Amalfi state road 163, classified by National Geographic as “one of the 10 most beautiful roads in the world”. The delegation will start in Vietri sul mare and arrive in Ravello where they will be welcomed at Villa Cimbrone, one of the most exclusive residences of Italy.
On Monday there was a meeting with the mayors which took place in Amalfi, together with the presidents of the park, the Province, Region and University representatives. At the end of this meeting a letter of intent was signed in support of the nomination to be put forward at the next ‘Man and Biosphere’ Coordinating Council. The Council will then decide on the establishment of the reserve.
Others visits on the tour will include the Marine Reserve of Punta Campanella where 2 loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta Caretta) will be freed into the waters.
The Amalfi coast is without doubt one of the most beautiful and scientifically important areas in Italy. Although the visit has not taken in area of Agerola and surrounding areas, we feel that for mayor Luca Mascola and his community, it is only a matter of time. For now, we will continue to write and share Agerola presenting it as it truely is …. one of the most unique areas of Italy in which man lives in unison with nature.