Venice is facing a perilous situation as the UN’s cultural agency, Unesco, calls for its inclusion in the list of world heritage sites in danger.
The iconic Italian city is confronting multiple threats, including overwhelming tourism, overdevelopment, and the rising sea levels attributed to climate change. Unesco’s report highlights the urgent need for better preservation to safeguard Venice’s future.
The Venice municipality’s response to the proposal is one of cautious consideration, indicating a willingness to discuss the matter with the Italian government. Unesco criticises the authorities for lacking a strategic vision to tackle the issues plaguing this picturesque city, which is often referred to as “La Serenissima,” meaning “very serene.”
Past attempts to include Venice in the danger list were thwarted by emergency measures, such as the ban on large ships in the San Marco Canal. However, these measures alone have not been enough to secure the city’s safety, and a comprehensive conservation plan remains elusive.
Rising sea levels, exacerbated by climate change, pose a severe threat to Venice due to its location surrounded by water. Additionally, the influx of approximately 28 million tourists annually leads to urban expansion projects that further endanger the city’s integrity.
Unesco’s report suggests that high-rise buildings should be situated away from the city center to mitigate their negative visual impact. The lack of a strategy to address climate change-induced risks further highlights the need for immediate action.
Unesco currently lists 55 World Heritage sites in danger, with 204 more under active monitoring due to potential threats.
While Australia’s Great Barrier Reef narrowly escaped inclusion this year, it remains under “serious threat” from climate change and water pollution, subject to further review in 2024. In the case of Venice, urgent and effective measures are essential to protect its irreplaceable cultural and environmental significance for future generations.