UNESCO, in the “Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention” of 1977 and its subsequent updates, defines a buffer zone as “an area ensuring an additional level of protection to a World Heritage Site”. For the UNESCO site “Genoa, Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli”, the nomination dossier set the buffer zone as the perimeter of the historical city centre identified by the Municipal Urban Plan in force.
This delimitation reconfirmed the perimeter of protection founded by pre-existing instruments for the protection of the territory. More specifically, the buffer zone includes the area of the old town that includes the districts Prè, Molo and Maddalena (113 ha). The most significant urban characteristic lies in the ongoing presence of a medieval settlement structure - still recognisable in the size of the building parcels and in the architectural details of the buildings - which entails a high building density with an overall volume of about 10,000,000 m38. The old town of Genoa is a mainstay of the city’s historical, artistic and cultural identity, not only due to the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli but also to the Palazzo Ducale and to the Musei di Arte Antica.
The second periodic report, presented in 2014 at the UNESCO General Conference, specifies that while the boundaries of the core zone are well known both to the bodies responsible for managing the site and to residents and the local community, the boundaries of the buffer zone are not familiar among the latter. This constitutes a critical aspect as the core zone is of fundamental importance for the conservation and for the core values of the site.
It is worth noting that in the in-force Municipal Urban Plan (2015), the boundaries of the historical city centre do not include the Principe district, given the need to develop services in this area, whereas it is included in the buffer zone considered by the 2020-2024 Management Plan.