Ipsa, Caput Mundi, bellorum maxima merces, Roma capi facilis...
"Rome itself, capital of the world, the most important prey of war, easy to subjugate [...]"
Marcus Anneus Lucanus, Pharsalia, II, 655-656
In urban planning terms today we no longer speak of the historic centre of Rome but of the Historic City.
Within the Historic City there is a specific area called UNESCO perimeter.
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, was established by the London Convention of 16 November 1945, ratified by Italy on 27 January 1948.
According to Art. 1 of the Convention, the Organization 'aims to contribute to the maintenance of peace and security by strengthening, through education, science and culture, collaboration among nations in order to ensure universal respect for justice, law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, for the benefit of all, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, and which the Charter of the United Nations recognizes for all peoples'.
This is why areas considered strategic for the purposes of the Convention are subject to a special protection regime that preserves the world heritage of humanity over time so that posterity can enjoy it too.
WHAT DOES THE UNESCO PERIMETER INCLUDE?
The UNESCO perimeter of the Historic City of Rome encompasses the portions of territory located within the Aurelian Walls, as well as an area around the Vatican City and another located within the basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
The UNESCO perimeter includes historical, artistic and cultural elements spanning almost 3,000 years of history, from the foundation of the city (753 BC) to the present day:
a) monuments (as Colosseum, Circus Maximus, Pantheon, Ara Pacis, the entire area of the Forum);
b) fortifications (City walls; Castel Sant'Angelo walls);
c) urban areas (Tridente);
d) civil buildings (Campidoglio);
e) places of worship (as major churches and basilicas: Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni in Laterano);
f) palaces (Palazzo Farnese, Palazzo del Quirinale, Palazzo Spada and so on);
g) museum complexes (Vittoriano, Palazzo Altemps, Galleria Borghese, etc.).
All historical districts (except for part of the Borgo and Prati districts) fall within the UNESCO perimeter.
In 1990, the Italian State signed an agreement with the Vatican, thanks to which the extra-territorial properties of the Holy See were also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Given the importance of the UNESCO perimeter in terms of history, art and archaeology, the municipality of Rome has issued a resolution (49/2019) regulating the exercise of commercial and craft activities within the Historic City and the UNESCO perimeter.
For more details read our articles on protected and prohibited activities in the same areas.