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According to UNESCO, Venice is no longer a site in danger. But are we sure it’s good news?

It’s bad news disguised as good news that declared Venice out of the «UNESCO blacklist of World Heritage sites at risk.

After the recommendation published months ago by the experts of the international organization who had judged the measures implemented to be insufficient to fight against the deterioration of the environmental and economic situation of the city, last week the same experts meeting in Ryad decided that no, the city is no longer in danger. But what has changed?

According to minister Sangiulianowho celebrated together with President Zaia and Mayor Brugnaro, the decision is «a great victory for Italy and for common sense» and comes from «courageous measures adopted by the Municipality to manage tourism and guarantee the protection of the extraordinary cultural heritage of the city”. However, the citizens did not rejoice and are still wondering: what are these courageous measures?

If you ask, for example, Toto Bergamo Rossi, director of Venetian Heritage, a company concretely committed every day to the conservation and maintenance of the city. «It’s a missed opportunity, the city is certainly not crumbling, but it needs continuous maintenance. This mayor is populist, this inclusion in the list of sites at risk would have been a good push to take action».

«Commitments from the last few months? – you ask Jane Da Mosto, president of the association We are here Venice – Venice has problems that have lasted for a very long time. This latest UNESCO decision is a “political” decision, but the salvation of Venice, which needs commitment and important projects, should not be reduced to a political question. UNESCO, which should protect humanity and the planet, has shown itself to be very weak with this decision.”

In short, little celebration and no victory, neither for the Venetians nor for the city whose state remains precarious in everyone’s eyes. The center of Venice lives in a state of daily degradation (we have told it well here)citizens officially outnumbered by tourists (during the week the number of beds exceeded those of residents) are asphyxiated by the congestion of visitors and mortified by the progressive cultural impoverishment. Just to give an example, how is it possible that in the city that hosts one of the most important film festivals in the world there are only two cinemas – with questionable programming – e only one theatre beyond La Fenice? Not to mention the great absence, music.

Meanwhile, the lagoon, which together with the historic centre, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, continues to fill with increasingly larger boats: the cruise ships in the Grand Canal seem to have been removed tours in the northern lagoon (and beyond) have multiplied which bring large groups of tourists into fragile areas without controls. Coming back from Burano even during the week is an epic, the queues in the afternoon reach up to the foundations, to take a quiet walk in Venice you have to leave at dawn or go to one of the a few areas completely off the tourist routes, fewer and fewer.

Gioele Romanelli, founder of Inside Venice and hotel entrepreneur he says that we need to listen more to the categories: «Entrepreneurs should be heard more than the associations, otherwise the discussion always risks being biased».

More listening, but also action. The Municipality is currently celebrating the approval of what is called entrance ticket which will be introduced next April. But Toto Bergamo Rossi comments: «More than the entrance ticket, it would be necessary to request a mandatory reservation. Just like in museums. I don’t understand the reticence in saying that Venice is an open-air museum; museums are organized places. I hope that this tax will at least act as a filter for the numbers.” But the problem also lies with the Venetians, he continues, who have put every house, room or palace up for rent. Everyone rents with short-term rentals, «from the marquise with the noble palace divided into 14 apartments to the gondolier who puts her house up for rent and goes to live in Mestre. Short-term rentals allow you to earn easy money but they destroy the city. Goya who said “the sleep of reason generates monsters”. If you don’t need to do anything else because the rent is enough for you to live on, you flatten yourself.” And this is how Venice appears today, a flat city, where everyone can do everything except live.

Source: Vanity Fair

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