The patrimony of the lagoon

Venti  di  Cultura  offers  cultural  itineraries  to enhance the Venice lagoon  landscape  and  culture.” A space/time unit”, as F. Braudel defined it, a cohesive system held together by a network of paths and activities on water, inherited from the Serenissima.

Threats

Nowadays the Venetian archipelago is threatened by various factors: continuous depopulation, which has reduced the number of inhabitants from 170,000 in the post-war years to 51,000 in present-day; the hegemony of cars, the reason why the communities living on mainland along the lagoon turn their back on water; ‘hit and run’ mass tourism, mostly pedestrian or by boats that are too big and too fast, creates a lot of damages but offers huge income to the city now weeping cos of the pandemic; the erosion of the salt marshes, resulting in the loss of one million cubic meters per year; without forgetting the rise in sea levels, the pollution of water and air, and so on.

The process of transformation from a water city to a pedestrian one began with Napoleon, after the end of the thousand-year history of the Serenissima Republic, and has not stopped yet. Not everyone knows that 80% of the bridges had been built in the last 200 years.

In different ways, Venti di Cultura collects and interprets testimonies of daily life and trades that took place along the waterways, demonstrating how the slow experience of moving in the lagoon, between land and sea, still holds together and gives meaning to the Venetian archipelago.

Our routes and projects, inspired by the Faro Convention of the Council of Europe, experiment various instruments of cohesion for the patrimonial community of the Venice Lagoon.

Projects

In 2006 we laid the foundations for a network of the lagoon cultural resources with the outputs of the European project Murex – Industrial Archeology between land and sea, for a European network of coastal eco-museums- collected in the volume Rooms of the Ecomuseum of Venice Lagoon.

In 2009, spurred on by a European Lifelong Learning project, TECCN – Territorial Cultural Network for Citizens, we started the creation of a cultural cabotage: Lagunalonga. On the traces of the narratives of the witnesses of the quotidian life in the lagoon (here the first documentary film), Lagunalonga promotes a high quality slow tourism, on board of electric boats.

Both the first and the second documentary (Le Isole Felici) has been produced thanks to the sponsorship of a purpose company Lagunalonga srl, active until the pandemic outbreak. The weekly itineraries in the lagoon were very successful and received very good reviews.

In 2012, the committee for the eco-museum of the lagoon was established (here: comitato promotore ecomuseo Laguna Venezia) . Venti di Cultura is the leader of a network meant to share the competences in the management of community’s cultural resources. The letter of intent and the report on the work carried out over the years are based on the regional law which, approved in 2012, became effective in 2019, but still does not finance the individual ecomuseums operations (rapporto comitato ecomuseo Laguna Venezia).

Rooms of the ecomuseum of  theVenice lagoon

In 2015, VdC won the tender of the Unesco Site Office-Venice and its Lagoon- for the ‘plan to enhance the culture and landscape of the lagoon’ with the project of the landing points of the slow water tourism network, in collaboration with all the administrations of Municipalities that overlook the lagoon waters: Venice, Cavallino, Jesolo, Musile di Piave, Quarto d’Altino,  Mira,  Campagna Lupia,  Codevigo,  Chioggia.

In our intentions, the plan could be implemented thanks to a management coinciding with that of the Ecomuseum of the Lagoon.

More recently, Venti di Cultura proposed a “learning project” for the high schools settled in the Lagoon area. We offer to accompany students (as grandchildren) on a wide campaign of interview with testimonies (as grandparents), all about the patrimony of the quotidian life in the lagoon territories.

These multiple activities constitute the material for a real ‘archive of memory of the material culture and daily life on the Venice lagoon’ that takes a preliminary form in the register below. A dynamic and digital archive, as a compass for cultural and experiential itineraries, for which we will launch a funding campaign.

The last active involvement of VdC is a project of no-fuel itineraries enhancing sustainable navigation in the lagoon and slow tourism aboard BEPI, here, an innovative electric wooden boat, accessible to people with disability or reduced mobility.

We are members of the organization team of the first e-regatta , a competition of  electric boats from all over the world that will take place during the next Venice Boat Show, (May 29-June 6 2021).

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