Vita Gazette

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Venice will not enter the list of sites in danger

Vita gazette – Venice does not enter the “blocklist”. UNESCO World Heritage Sites at risk. This was decided – unanimously – by the World Heritage Committee, meeting in Riyadh on 14 September.

UNESCO, Venice and its lagoon do not enter the blocklist of sites in danger. On the agenda was the examination of the recommendation published by the international organisation experts who had suggested including Venice in the list of areas at risk, judging the measures put in place to fight against the deterioration of the environmental situation as “insufficient”. And economical. For days, a delegation led by the general director of the Municipality, Morris Ceron, with the deputy mayor Andrea Tomaello and the environment councillor Massimiliano De Martin, with the Italian Ambassador, had been present in Riyadh. In extremis, as an “ace in the hole”, the approval of the definitive regulation for the access fee was communicated, i.e., tickets being tested from next spring to manage and limit the unscheduled influx of daily visitors in particularly intense periods.

In August 2023, the World Heritage Centre, the body of the Agency that deals with the designations of Heritage Sites, announced the concrete possibility of including the Italian site, which has already been part of the World Heritage List since 1987, in its black book, due to exposure to the adverse effects of climate change, mass tourism and urban development.

On that occasion, the finger was explicitly pointed at the Italian government, guilty, over the years, of not having made sufficient progress in implementing protection measures for the anthropic and natural ecosystem of the ancient city. In 2021, UNESCO had already invited the government to make further efforts to safeguard the city. Before that, in 2019, the Agency had raised the alarm about the problems associated with the passage of cruise ships in the Lagoon, which threatened the stability of the underwater infrastructure.

The list of endangered sites is intended to spread awareness of threats to cultural heritage and encourage appropriate conservation countermeasures. The sites included may either already be under threat or potentially at risk in the future. And it is certainly not whether or not you are included in a list that safeguards a site. Indeed, with the lights off, with attention waning, and the emergency becoming an everyday situation – or at least passed off as such – the risk can be even greater.

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