Venice Keeps Off UNESCO World Heritage Danger List

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The fragile Italian metropolis has taken steps to trim the impacts of clime alteration and excessive tourism, but immoderate experts said the moves were not enough.

People taking a gondola thrust   adjacent   the Rialto Bridge successful  Venice.
Venice, a metropolis of canals and gondolas, attracts millions of visitors ever year.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

Sept. 14, 2023, 2:44 p.m. ET

Venice volition not beryllium included connected UNESCO’s database of “World Heritage successful Danger” aft a sheet voted connected Thursday to cull the proposal of experts astatine the bureau who had raised concerns that Italy had not done capable to support the fragile city, which is threatened by clime change, wide tourism and development.

Still, representatives of countries upholding the World Heritage Convention, which seeks to support and sphere taste sites, said successful a connection that “further advancement inactive needs to beryllium made” to decently conserve Venice. During a statement connected Thursday day astatine a World Heritage Committee league successful Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, respective delegates said Italy should big a caller advisory ngo successful Venice successful the coming months to show the efficacy of the measures that Italy has taken truthful acold and to marque suggestions.

“Venice is not astatine risk,” Mayor Luigi Brugnaro wrote connected societal media Thursday evening, describing the effect arsenic a “great victory.” Posting connected X, the level formerly known arsenic Twitter, he added: “The satellite has understood each the enactment we person done to prevention our city.”

Italy was warned successful July that Venice, a World Heritage Site since 1987, was being considered for UNESCO’s “in danger” list, adjacent though the authorities and metropolis person made important changes to effort to support Venice.

Large cruise ships person been banned from entering Venetian waters. Massive barriers astatine the mouths of the lagoon clasp seawater astatine bay and halt precocious tides from flooding the city. And officials person begun tracking tourists via their cellphone information to show their movements.

This week, City Council voted that, starting adjacent year, day-trippers to Venice volition beryllium expected to wage 5 euros connected days erstwhile the metropolis is highly crowded with tourists. City officials anticipation that the measurement volition curb immoderate of the millions of tourists who throng to the metropolis each twelvemonth — 5 cardinal truthful acold successful 2023. Those who enactment overnight won’t beryllium charged.

Venice astir made the information database successful 2021, but then, too, subordinate countries rejected the proposal.


Venice said past week that it would statesman charging day-trippers 5 euros connected engaged days.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

Despite the changes successful Venice, UNESCO experts who person been intimately monitoring the metropolis felt that Italy and the section authorities had not done enough. Once a tract is placed connected the information list, it tin suffer its World Heritage status, which acknowledges its outstanding cosmopolitan value.

But the 21 subordinate states thought Italy’s efforts were to beryllium commended, and respective said that it was “premature” to enactment Venice connected the list. Several pointed retired that clime alteration was a planetary issue, affecting galore taste practice sites, and said Italy should not beryllium singled out.

Some national groups had hoped that the metropolis would beryllium recognized arsenic endangered. Nearly 5,000 radical signed a petition addressed to the UNESCO wide director, Audrey Azoulay, connected, asking that Venice beryllium connected the list, due to the fact that of the problems caused by excessive tourism. “The out-of-control tourism instrumentality makes large fiscal gains for few, against the communal bully and those who privation to unrecorded successful the city,” the petition said.

In his study to the league connected Thursday, Nicholas Clarke, an adept with the International Council connected Monuments and Sites, which advises UNESCO connected World Heritage sites and had urged putting Venice connected the list, said that efforts to tackle dense tourism “come precise precocious and much urgent enactment is required.”

For years, visitors to Venice person easy outnumbered the residents of the historical metropolis center, the fig of which dropped a twelvemonth agone to under 50,000 from astir 175,000 successful 1951.

Speaking earlier the ballot Thursday, Berta de Sancristobal of the UNESCO World Heritage Center, which had called for the metropolis to beryllium listed arsenic successful danger, cited “the antagonistic impacts of wide tourism reflected successful the continued diminution successful section residents, starring to the alteration of the tone of spot and the nonaccomplishment of historical authenticity.”

Last week, a local group announced that the fig of beds for visitors had surpassed those for residents.

The purpose of the UNESCO list, which includes 55 endangered sites similar the Old City of Jerusalem and Timbuktu, is to spur conservation, according to the agency. When a tract is connected the list, the United Nations commits to make a corrective program alongside nationalist authorities and to show the results.


The flooded Campo Erberia during seasonal precocious h2o past year.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

Matteo Secchi of the citizens’ radical said that locals did not request UNESCO to archer them what was incorrect with the city, adjacent though a spotlight connected the problems was invited if it made the satellite instrumentality notice.

“We are lone trying to transportation connected our culture, our life, and we spot that it’s successful danger. That’s wherefore we get mad, wherefore we marque appeals to the world,” helium said, adding of the tourists: “They’re not happy, we’re not happy, everyone isn’t happy.”

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