UNESCO’s Archives, a testimony of the restoration and preservation of Venice and its Lagoon
Venice and its surrounding lagoon is a unique and very special UNESCO World Heritage Site. On 4 November 1966, its sacred façade as a beautiful romantic city was shattered when torrential rain combined with high tides and severe winds flooded the city. The conditions never seen before devastated the north of Italy and historically important cities in addition to Venice, causing enormous damage. The destruction was compounded by a cruel toll on human life and physical damage to thousands of works of art. In the aftermath of this disaster and in response to the disastrous state of Venice’s heritage, a request for assistance by the Italian Government was sent to UNESCO. René Maheu, the then Director-General of UNESCO launched an Appeal for International Solidarity, to which initiatives from all over the world arose to promptly provide aid. This resulted in an International Campaign, which for 50 years led to outstanding cooperation and worldwide support for the inventorying and restoration of major monuments within the city of Venice.