The article is divided into two parts. The first one deals with the theme of cultural heritage and explains its complexity through the analysis of how it has developed in time as a concept based on two main elements: the acknowledgment of its economic value, and even more, its political and identity value; its hereditary nature as a set of goods that, as in the life of private individuals, must pass from one generation to the next. The different phases that have determined its development are presented, providing examples taken from the history of European culture. In the second part, the article questions about the distance between the specific complexity of the cultural heritage and the fact that more and more tourists are taking part into it. The result is a discrepancy that creates tiredness and, often, boredom. Thus, in explaining the relationship between context and detail, a way of envisaging the visits to art heritage cities is proposed, which, if subject to an experimental verification, might show how it is possible to find new and more satisfactory solutions both from a cultural point of view and for the protection of the art heritage.
Keywords: Cultural turism; heritage; Rome; cultural mediation; education.