Flooded houses in Venice, Source: Depositphotos

Venice might move to UNESCO’ endangered heritage list

Venice might move to UNESCO’ endangered heritage list

Experts from the global organization have taken into account chronic factors that threaten the integrity and existence of the iconic Italian city

Experts from UNESCO are recommending that the historic core of Venice should be placed in the World Heritage Sites in Danger list next month when the World Heritage Committee meets in Riyadh.

This time, however, apart from the regular issues plaguing the city related to climate change, depopulation and overtourism, the international heritage body is pointing the finger at the Italian authorities for not doing enough to save the unique lagoon city.

According to UNESCO, the Italian government has simply failed to produce any meaningful and working plan to safeguard the coastal city, which has been increasingly under pressure from human and environmental factors. The organization added that Italy “has not been communicating in a sustained and substantive manner since its last Committee session in 2021, when UNESCO had already threatened to blacklist Venice”, according to Reuters.

The rise of sea levels would be fatal for Venice

Putting the Lagoon City on the list of endangered sites is meant to be a last resort and a signal to the Italian authorities that they need to take matters into their hands and act. On that list, Venice will likely be in the company of the war-impacted Ukrainian cities of Odesa, Lviv and Kyiv (also to be added to the list in September).

There is criticism towards Italy that it hasn’t taken advantage of the EU Recovery Fund financing to develop coherent plans to protect its coastal cities and make them more resilient. Scientists predict that by the end of the century, there will be a relative rise in sea level somewhere between 44 and 76 centimetres.

That would mean that most of the time the mobile barriers protecting the Venice lagoon from the tides would have to stay up, which in turn would change drastically the ecosystem of the water body, making the city unlivable in the long term.

So far as tourist management is concerned, critics say the current mayor Luigi Brugnaro has achieved nothing - all his attempts to control visitor numbers through a system of ticketing have proven unworkable.

Nevertheless, a spokesperson for the Venice municipality told Reuters the city "will carefully read the proposed decision published today by the Center for UNESCO's World Heritage Committee and will discuss it with the government".



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