Save Venice

 

Statue of a horse, VeniceVenice, with its surrounding lagoon, is unique. In this city on the water, where the idea of terra firma is meaningless, a thousand years has seen the creation of an extraordinary museum of architecture. But this cultural and natural heritage is very seriously threatened. The image of a beautiful romantic city was shattered on 4 November 1966, when torrential rain devastated the north of Italy and flooded both Venice and Florence on a scale never seen before. The damage was enormous. The cruel toll in human lives, and the physical destruction, were compounded by damage to thousands of works of art.

 

Venice flooded by water, 4 November 1966UNESCO's involvement with the City of Venice initiated this same day when the Italian Government made an appeal for aid to the 14th Session of the UNESCO General Conference which was being convened at the same time. The Conference responded immediately by adopting a Resolution and on 2 December 1966, the Director General of UNESCO, Mr. R. Maheu, officially launched the "International Campaign for Florence and Venice". Establishment of a Ministerial Committee for the Study of Measures suitable for the defence and Safeguard of Venice better known as the "Public Works Committee 1966", sessions in which, on many an occasion, UNESCO participated.

 

On 15 March 1967, in a memorandum concerning Venice the Italian Government invited UNESCO to play an active role in an international action. A few months later, in order to Iran - stamp Save Venice 1974identify the needs of Venice for the purpose of UNESCO's action and to attract the attention of public leaders and institutions in various countries, the Italian Government and UNESCO organised jointly an international Meeting for the Protection of the cultural property of Florence and Venice. The conference expressed the hope to see UNESCO "continue to disseminate information" and "intensify its efforts to solicit and obtain contributions from governments and from public and private sources and that the Government of Italy, in agreement with UNESCO, would set up in Venice an international technical advisory committee.

 

Romania - stamp Save Venice 1972In the first 7 years of the Campaign for the Safeguarding of Venice, UNESCO brought international public awareness to the difficulties and problems the City of Venice was continually facing. The Campaign also elaborated updated scientific and technical studies which lead to an exhaustive plan to safeguard not only the historic centre of Venice, its monuments and its cultural heritage but also its surrounding Lagoon. In 1973, the Private Committees for the Safeguarding of Venice were established. Major contributions collected from these worldwide private committees/organisations were (and still are today) channelled through UNESCO to be used for the restoration and preservation of Venice and its Lagoon. The office of the Campaign was originally located in Rome, but in accordance with Italian Government was transferred to Venice in the Appartimenti Reali located Office for the Safeguarding of Venice.

 

The generous movement is still going strong, and 40 years later, there is unanimous agreement on the successful results both of the technical achievements and of international cooperation. But Venice still needs attentive care, and its continued survival depends on our unflagging vigilance.

 

 

Links

 

The International Safeguarding Campaign on the website of UNESCO.

The UNESCO Venice Medal.

Venice in Peril, the British Committee for the Preservation of Venice.

 

 

Stamp catalogue

 

Niger                          7 February 1972

Tunisia                        7 February 1972

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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last revised: 5 July 2009