[Ed. Note: this is statement that was released on Italia Nostra’s web site, not a news story.]
A Science Fiction Novel
25 January 2019
With access to the documents, Italia Nostra has been able to look at and subsequently to obtain a full copy of the Report that UNESCO requested of the Italian State with Decision 41 COM.7B.48, approved during the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee that took place in Krakow in July 2017.
Just as with the 2017 Report, the responses to UNESCO were not offered by the State – which is responsible for the commitments that accompany being included on the World Heritage Sites list – but rather were surprisingly delegated to the City Administration.
Italia Nostra deplores the fact that in Venice we not only lack the involvement of the citizens, but also that there is very little transparency within the City Council, since the Report signed by Mayor Brugnaro was never discussed in Council.
In the first reading, from which will follow more thoughtful and precise observations, it seems like a science fiction novel, in which a utopian city is described, a perfect and happy city. Citing the Report: “we want, in summary, to tell a story of Venice that is different from the usual clichés, a Venice that is alive and vital, a Venice that looks to the future without renouncing its traditions, and that stands to be one of the most attractive metropolitan cities on the world scene… a city that knew how to react to a decline and is being reborn”.
Further on the report refers to a “notable improvement in the air quality, measured and demonstrated by scientific evidence”, while, in reference to motorboat waves (moto ondoso), another true scourge of Venice, it claims the under the “Onda Zero” project “the Local Police of Venice have measured the speed of 146,561 vessels and have ticketed 7,431”. This is a pitiful and transparent veil for the fines that were annulled due to incompetence.
Another big issue jumps to the eye: the renewed proposal to move the cruise ship terminal to Marghera. The dossier was submitted with the approval of MIBAC: thus the Minister of Cultural Heritage on the one hand wants to regulate the Bacino di San Marco, and on the other hand to plan the definitive destruction of the Lagoon. The euphemism is interesting: “functional restoration of the existing Canale Vittorio Emanuele III” to describe a colossal excavation in one of the most polluted areas of the Lagoon. In addition, this project is completely against the declarations and commitments of the candidates of the same party as the minister. What do this party’s parliamentarians mean to do? Will they accept a position that is contrary to their campaign statements and renege on their commitment to the voters?
Italia Nostra’s responses to the Report will be formulated in the coming months, and then will be circulated to the international press and to the Director General of UNESCO in Paris.
President of Italia Nostra-Venice