Τhe city of Venice was added to the World Monuments Fund’s 2014 “Watch List” of heritage sites at risk. One of the major threats to Venice is cruise tourism, as visitors flock to the city while locals move out of the area. Also, visitor figures have increased by a staggering 400% within the past five years, and during the peak season, an average of 20,000 tourists descend on the city’s historic streets and squares. Due to the tourist invasion, around 50% of the locals have moved out within the past decade.
Former chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund and chief executive of The Art Newspaper Anna Somers Cocks believes that “this will get a reaction out of the Italian government. I hope that it will not be rejected as outside interference, but accepted as a sign of loving concern”.
Venice is one of 67 heritage sites in 41 countries added to the fund’s new “Watch List”. It is joined by three other Italian sites, including the historic centre of L’Aquila which was devastated by an earthquake in 2009 and remains inhabitable. Also on the list are the cultural heritage sites of Syria and Mali.
“The 2014 Watch presents a selection of monuments from around the world in need of both new economic resources and innovative ideas about how to preserve them for future generations. These sites—and countless others like them—recount our human history and highlight our achievements. It takes vigilance to keep them active in the world; yet it is often the case that the very places that provide rich character and texture to our lives need more assistance and attention than they are given,” according to the fund’s president, Bonnie Burnham.