Ipogea was founded in Matera (Italy) in 1993, when the initiatives for the inclusion of the Sassi of Matera in the UNESCO World Heritage List were undertaken. It was situated in a monumental complex in the Sassi, granted by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Ministry of Finance to enable activities enhancing the cultural heritage and promoting the international role of the Sassi in connection with the area’s inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Ipogea is now established also in Florence, with an office located in via Roma 595, Bagno a Ripoli (FI), Italy.
Pietro Laureano, director and coordinator of Ipogea, was the author of the insertion of the Sassi in the UNESCO World Heritage List. He is also responsible for the inclusion of Italy’s Cilento National Park, with the archeological sites of Paestum and Velia, in the list of World Heritage Sites. He was a member of the UNESCO team that developed the master plan of greater Petra (Jordan), and he is team leader of the UNESCO campaign for the preservation of the archaeological monuments of Lalibela (Ethiopia).
He is the promoter, coordinator and project manager of the archaeological park of Gravina in Puglia, and has designed plans for important archaeological sites and parks on the Italian and international levels. He is the author of the methodology for the implementation of management plans of UNESCO sites.
Ipogea is recognized by the European Union as possessing the highest degree of excellence in the protection and enhancement of European Cultural Heritage, it has been an associate member of ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) and it executes projects for the World Monuments Found.
Ipogea is currently engaged in activities in the following fields:
- Master plans of parks and archeological sites;
- UNESCO World Heritage List management plans;
– Soil protection;
– Sustainable management of water resources;
– Application and dissemination of traditional techniques;
– Protection and enhancement of landscape;
– Landscape planning;
– Environmental restoration;
– Sustainable development;
– Ecosystem protection;
– Dissemination of know-how and capacity building;
– Enhancement of world heritage and cultural identity.
Ipogea is experienced in management of multilateral activities, in programs for developing countries and in co-ordination of multidisciplinary groups of international experts. It also organizes exhibitions, forums, seminars, workshops, courses and internships. It has carried out the scientific coordination of three major European projects, and it is working for the UNDP Morocco on the study of an area of desert land and the creation of an eco-museum.
Ipogea’s general management approach is to encourage the full development of local skills and resources, and to inventory and enhance local archaeological, historical, environmental and traditional values. To this end Ipogea and UNESCO have hammered out a methodology for the classification of local values (SITTI - Iconograrphic System of Traditional and Innovative Techniques) and the creation of readily accessible archives and data banks (TKWB - Traditional Knowledge World Bank) that allow the memory and values of specific places to be preserved, and that provide operational tools for the organization of territorial parks.
This system, based on a GIS (Geographic Information System) platform and on Google Earth, is a powerful tool for planning and permits the creation of:
– An easily accessible interactive database of all available documentation;
– A numeric chart of archaeological values;
– Compound maps for the organization of parks;
– Scenarios and future projections for stakeholders and public officials;
– Web-based interactive itineraries for the development and enhancement of tourism.