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The first edition

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Presentation of Prof. Massimo Cacciari

"A masterpiece of human creative genius". "An outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use or sea-use." "Unique testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared." "A place of important interchange of human values on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design". These are some of the criteria evaluated by UNESCO when deciding on whether or not to add a site to its "World Heritage List". All recognized as elements of exceptional universal value, justifying the inclusion of Venice and its lagoon in the List in 1987.
This list of recognized values shows just how multifaceted and wide-ranging “Venice's heritage” is. A wealth of history, art, architecture, nature and civilization, forming one of the most shining examples of man's "activity": a place where buildings have risen, projects designed, goods exchanged gods and ideas conveyed, dialogue encouraged and man has striven to evolve over the centuries. In every field of activity here man has always pursued ambitious goals and expressed himself at the highest levels. All the peoples of the Mediterranean have contributed to this, albeit in different ways and with different levels of importance, to ensure Venice survived, to build its culture and its artistic heritage, to raise its vocation to welcome, to shape its role as a “bridge city”. If we look carefully, from its earliest days Venice has always been the guardian and privileged witness of the cultural heritage of Mediterranean peoples. Venice thus represents a heritage of great and obvious importance, one that must be preserved and passed down to future generations. This means that there is an urgent need now to protect Venice from the fatal risk of degradation.
Venice is a heritage, but also a "problem", and a multifaceted one at that. The protection that the city requires is not just physical, i.e. physical protection from storm surges and high water, from pollution of the lagoon and salt attacking the buildings, erosion of the shores, pavements and bridges, the ageing of the houses, palaces and churches... Social and economic protection is also needed: support for the younger population and less affluent classes, orderly management of tourist flows, promotion of productive activities, especially in the field of innovation and intangible activities, of culture and crafts, as well as the port system and logistics... Protection means ensuring that Venice keeps and relaunches its role as a "bridge city", as a place where different peoples and cultures can meet and exchange ideas and experiences. The aim is not to preserve Venice as though it were a museum, but a real live city: inhabited, vibrant, active and “lived”.
This DVD produced by the Aliusmodi Association is dedicated to these many varied aspects of Venice, “heritage and problem”. With a wide range of multimedia content and the input of experts from various fields, plus the participation of the Municipality of Venice, the DVD is an entirely new, easy and thorough work of consultation: useful and stimulating for scholars and enthusiasts alike, as well as for unhurried, non superficial visitors. Perfect for all those wanting to get to know Venice better, beyond the stereotypes and postcards, to really get to grips with the complexity of its “enigma” and to appreciate its enduring message. A message that man has more need of today than ever before.

Prof. Massimo Cacciari
Mayor of Venice


Venice and its lagoons

World Heritage, a dialogue between cultures: which future?

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