Italia Nostra asks UNESCO to place Venice and the Lagoon on the list of Endangered Sites


[What follows is a statement released by Italia Nostra after a press conference in Rome on 24 June – Ed.]

24 June 2019

The cruise ship accident last June 2 in the Canale della Giudecca has exposed the fact that Venice is at serious risk. Everyone seems to agree that the big ships should no longer traverse this canal. However, “get the ships out of the Bacino di San Marco and the Canale della Giudecca” is the slogan for those who want to keep the ships at Venice, one way or the other.

And the majority of those who love Venice don’t know, however, that there are many other risks that endanger the universal value of a site recognized by UNESCO as deserving to be passed down intact to future generations.

The erosion of the Lagoon, the growing tourism pressure, the high impact development projects, the remodel and restoration on our heritage of monuments by the star architect of the moment:  it seems like a plot to which Venice risks succumbing.

In 2011 and 2012 Italia Nostra sent three letters which warned the World Heritage Committee that the conditions for maintaining Venice and its Lagoon on the World Heritage List no longer existed, due to the lack of care on the part of the Italian State and the local Administrations. Following these warnings, UNESCO sent a Mission to Venice in October 2015, which was followed by further recommendations with which the Italian State has only minimally complied.

In a few days a new meeting of the World Heritage Committee will take place in Baku, where Venice will be discussed. Italia Nostra has presented its observations to underline the omissions contained in the Report that was submitted by the City of Venice, but most of all to reveal the total lack of a project for the city.

Italia Nostra has turned with “desperate trust” to the global Organization in the belief that the decline of Venice can be stopped only with a symbolic gesture: inclusion in the list of Endangered Sites.

This is no longer the moment for extensions, as have been granted repeatedly, but for a responsible decision, for taking a conscious stand even if it is uncomfortable. It is time for a decision that imposes the necessity of rethinking and a change of course – this is what we hope for.

Inclusion on the Endangered Sites list can be the first step towards redemption, with the goal of obtaining stricter protections.

-Italia Nostra


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