Italy, which has the largest number of world heritage sites in the world, 39 sites in all, has no historic document considered by UNESCO worthy of entry in the United Nations organisation's register of the world's memory, a register currently consisting of 91 documents from 45 countries. The register contains documents that vary from the Gutenberg Bible to the archives of the Warsaw ghetto, from Beethoven's IX symphony to Cook's journals of his voyage of exploration on the Endeavour.

Nominations turned down so far from Italy have been the codex of St Martha from the state archives in Naples and the Venetian state archives up to 1797 78 km of shelves housed in the ex Franciscan convent at the Frari in Venice.

The next meeting of the committee, due to take place in China next year, will consider the inclusion of the complete library built for Novello Malatesta, in Cesena in 1454. Amongst many precious books, the Malatesta library houses 340 priceless manuscripts in Greek, Latin and Hebrew, many of them illustrated.