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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Italy Series at ItalianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Italian holidays and observances. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1 Lesson 17, Cultural Heritage Week.
Do you know that Italy is notable for being a country with one of the largest numbers of UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Perhaps this is why for a few years now in the month of April, Italians celebrate Cultural Heritage Week.
In this lesson we’ll see what’s done in Italy to promote its cultural heritage.
Now, before we go into more detail, we’ve got a question for you- Do you know what the most famous contemporary Italian art exhibition is?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
During Cultural Heritage Week, or Settimana della cultura, the majority of the museums, archaeological sites and places of cultural interest owned by the state are open to visitors free of charge. In addition, many other events are organized to attract as many people as possible and stimulate their interest in Italian culture. It’s a special time, because the art becomes accessible to all.
Among the most visited places during this week are definitely the archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, or Pompei ed Ercolano, which hold immensely valuable records of the Roman era. In 79 AD, the volcano Vesuvius erupted suddenly, pouring three meters of ash on the surrounding areas, including Pompeii and Herculaneum, and leaving no escape for their inhabitants. The ash preserved the appearance of the two cities and kept them almost intact, and today it is one of the most beautiful and most visited places in the world.
Cultural Heritage Week doesn’t always take place in April, however. Since April is a great month for tourism, making admission to museums free of charge during that time results in a substantial economic loss for cultural sites, and thus it’s more practical to celebrate Cultural Heritage Week during the off-season, in autumn. Even if you don't happen to be in Italy during Cultural Heritage Week, keep in mind that entry to museums in Italy isn’t expensive, and they're definitely worth a visit!
For some years now, museums in many European countries, including Italy and France, open at night once a year and present a beautiful evening scene. This event is known as “Museum Night", or “Notte dei Musei.”
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know which contemporary Italian art exhibition is the most famous? It’s the Venice Biennale, Biennale di Venezia, where every two years works of art from around the world are collected and exhibited.
Well listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn something new?
How is culture celebrated in your country?
Please leave a comment telling us at ItalianPod101.com.
See you next time!