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Venice (Group C)

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    Venice – a world heritage of staggering legs?

    The official tourism website of the City of Venice suggests that Venice is one of the most visited cities on earth, and even those who have not been there know its best known places. Venice is known for its cultural heritage and the lagoon surrounding the city. Venice was declared as an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. The site consists of the historic city of Venice as well as its lagoon located in the Veneto Region of Northeast Italy (UNESCO, 1992-2015). Founded in the 5th century AD, the city became a key maritime power in the 10th century (UNESCO, 1992-2015). According to UNESCO (1992-2015), Venice was one of the greatest capitals in the medieval times. The city is built on 118 small islands, and its landscape has been an inspiration for many painters, such as Canaletto, Guardi and Turner (UNESCO, 1992-2015). Venice is known for its churches, cathedrals, monuments, exhibits, galleries, museums, festivals and historic cafes (, n.d.). One of the most recognized sites of the city is St. Mark's Square and the St. Mark's Basilica (, n.d.). The basilica was built in 829 (Venice Travel Guide Directory, 2015).Venice has influenced the development of architecture as well as developmental arts (UNESCO, 1992-2015).
       In addition to its culture and natural environment, Venice is unique because of its morphology, which has remained similar since the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Ve.La. S.p.A., 2014; UNESCO, 1992-2015). Venice is accessible for all kinds of visitors, due to its effective public transport policy (Ve.La. S.p.A., 2014). Tourists are able to walk through the city crossing the piazzas and magnificent bridges, or watch the city from a boat or a gondola (, n.d.). A network of waterways go through Venice and there is not always a road alongside canals and streams. Thus, travelling through the city by gondola may help visitors see corners of the city they would otherwise miss. The gondola is also seen as a symbol of Venice (Ve.La. S.p.A., 2014).
       Venice is promoted as an ideal destination for families as well, as the official website mentions there are for example different events, workshops and exhibitions available for families (Ve.La. S.p.A., 2014). The City of Venice runs a ‘Detourism’ campaign, which concentrates on sustainable tourism. Visitors are encouraged to visit less known places of the city. This allows visitors to see a more authentic Venice and from a same angle that locals see the city (Ve.La. S.p.A., 2014).

       Around 2.8 million tourists visits Venice annually in an area of 550 square kilometer, and in the tracks after these inherent sum of visitors, as well as the cruising ships with about 500 000 passengers yearly, follows pollution and eutrophication in the area. Venice is facing serious threats, and the main threat is regular flooding, as Penning-Rowsell, Winchester & Gardiner (1997) point out. The main reasons for these flooding are high tides and storm surges that increase water levels in northern Adriatic. As they argue, there has always been a flooding problem in Venice, but this is now increasing. Measures shown that beginning of the 19th century there were five to seven times a year a flooding on St Mark’s Square, which now has been increasing and reaching the level of forty to sixty times a year. The aim issue regarding to Penning-Rowsell et al (1997) is, that despite the fact that Venice, as an international cultural artefact and heritage (UNESCO), has been facing flooding through decades, no concrete solution to the problem has been viewed.  Moreover, the houses and Palaces in Venice are built on wooden piles with a platform at sea level, and the higher the sea level, the softer and porous the fundaments will be. The latest solution, however, is a proposal to construct mobile gates. These gates should be installed at the three main entrances of the Lagoon of Venice. As Penning-Rowsell et al (1997) argues, there ought to be a holistic long term approach for the problems of Venice. The Authors also mention that the citizens of Venice, more or less have adopted to the problem of flooding, and their solutions to it, is to abandon ground floor areas in buildings. In studies, made by Penning-Rowsell et al (1997), the outcome surprisingly showed, that the Venetians were more concerned with social-economic issues for Venice than with flooding problems. Venice also struggles with decreased population due to economic and political factors not just for the region of Venice but for whole Italy. Both the local community, the government in Rome and the EU are struggling with a common agreement of how to manage the problems of Venice, and Penning-Rowsell (1997) suggests what they call a “twin-track” approach, both a short to medium term planning strategy and a medium to long term planning strategy for Venice. They also suggest that there is a need to develop the City economically, and that there ought to be a balance between enhancing the tourism and carrying capacity. Moreover, they argue that the whole planning legislation must change, and that due to the fact that local stakeholders have to be fully involved and the progress of decision making ought to be transparent and with strong support by the government, this might be seen as an approach to a beginning of tackle the (managerial) problems of Venice. 



    References (n.d.) Italian Tourism Official Website [online]. Available from:  [28 October 2015].

    Penning-Rowsell, E., Winchester, P., & Gardiner, J. (1998). New approaches to sustainable hazard management for Venice. The Geographical journal. 164(1), 1-18.

    UNESCO, (1992-2015) UNESCO World Heritage Centre [online]. Available from:  [28 October 2015].

    Ve.La. S.p.A. (2014) The official tourism website of the City of Venice [online]. Available from: [28 October 2015].

    Venice Travel Guide Directory (2015) Venice Guide [online]. Available from: [28 October 2015].

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