UNESCO recommends that Venice and its lagoon join its list of World Heritage in Danger. This as Italy is allegedly not doing enough to protect the city from climate change and mass tourism.
The iconic tourist attraction is at a risk of “irreversible” damage due to over-development, rising sea levels and immense tourism, according to a report from UNESCO. The agency is hoping to encourage better preservation of the site for future generations.
UNESCO experts regularly review the agency’s 1,157 World Heritage sites. At a meeting in Riyadh in September, a panel of 21 UNESCO member states reviews the over 200 sites and decide which to add to the danger list.
Authorities not doing enough to protect Venice
A spokesperson for the Venice municipality reportedly said they will consider the proposal. They assure it will be discussed with the Italian government.
“Resolution of long-standing but urgent issues is hindered by a lack of overall joint strategic vision for the long-term preservation of the property and low effectiveness of integrated coordinated management at all stakeholder levels,” UNESCO said according to Reuters.
The last time UNESCO considered listing Venice as endangered, Italy banned large cruise ships from passing down its canal. The city reportedly made plans to introduce a day trip tax but its implementation keep being postponed. Venice also reportedly constructed sea wall to keep out high tides.
But UNESCO has slammed these efforts, calling it “insufficient and not detailed enough” according to Reuters. The heritage group reportedly said Italy “has not been communicating in a sustained and substantive manner since its last Committee session in 2021”.
Does UNESCO assist its heritage sites?
Venice is called La Serenissima, which translates to “very serene”. The UNESCO report blames the Italian government for a lack of “strategic vision” to fix the problems faced by Italy’s most scenic cities. Ultimately, it accuses the authorities of failing to protect the historic city.
But one of Venice’s former mayors has slammed the accusations, reportedly calling the international heritage agency is “one of the most expensive and useless bodies on the face of the earth”. Massimo Cacciari, who is also a famous philosopher, says UNESCO passes “judgement without knowledge” and “give opinions left and right, which we would do best to disregard”.
Climate scientists warn that sea waters will completely cover Venice by 2100.