Unfortunate news has come from the beloved country of Italy, Venice is now facing the uncertainty of being placed on the World’s Heritage in Danger list. On July 31st, the UN’s culture agency, UNESCO, proposed that Venice and its lagoon be included on the list, stating that the city did not make enough progress to prevent permanent consequences from tourism, climate change, and developmental projects. Adding that the assisting measures Italy has proposed—banning cruise ships from the lagoon and commencing the construction of seawalls to keep out high tide—are still insufficient to the necessary sustainable levels.

Venice, Italy has attracted mass tourism for decades, staying at the top of many’s bucket list destinations. But this has turned the once revolutionary city into a fragile and vulnerable hotspot. By securing a spot on the UNESCO list, Venice will receive the conservation assistance it needs to stabilize its environment. The list allows the UN to develop a corrective measurement plan to be implemented by national authorities, to then be monitored for peak success. UNESCO’s recommendation of list inclusion has not yet been finalized, it will go to a vote this month at the World Heritage Committee.

This is not the first time Venice has risked being put onto the endangered list. Back in 2019, UNESCO warned the city about the underlying damage of the steady welcoming of cruise ships the lagoon has foregone. So, in 2021, the city banned the entry of cruise ships into the lagoon to avoid any “real risk.” In 2020, a new system of seawalls went into production in hopes of protecting Venice from high tides that flood the city and erode the ancient buildings. Unfortunately, UNESCO stated the week of August 1 this year [2023] that the seawalls were not complete, and needed maintenance and modernization. The agency did however acknowledge the environmental intention behind the project, but warned that efforts needed to be met immediately in order for protection to properly ensue.

Throughout previous years, Venice has deployed technological data collecting tools to monitor and control the flow of tourism. As well as develop a ticket booking system for visitation into the city. The booking system has received a significant amount of backlash from many residents, and to their gratitude has not yet been materialized. Many officials and political figures, including former Prime Minister Mr. Brunetta, explained that tourism is the one entity that is destroying the city’s health, but is what also keeps the city afloat. Finding a sustainable balance between the two is going to be a difficult process, but a much needed necessity.