The Conservation of Venetian Building Materials

Venice is a city cherished for attributes that threaten its very existence. Its soothing, sun-dappled canals, romantic gondolas, and oceanic connection historically made the city a maritime power and presently makes it a top tourist destination, but the watery, marine environment has had a long history of threatening each historic building. Conservators are currently faced with immense challenges, as Venetian structures deteriorate faster than the city can be conserved. For this reason, Venetian and Italian authorities should increase current efforts to conserve Venetian structures by creating an updated and detailed conservation plan and focusing on larger fundraising efforts and public awareness campaigns. The restoration and conservation of Istrian stone, wood, and brick, three of the most widely-used building materials in Venice, relies on each material’s scientific characteristics and decay processes. For this reason, materials that stand up well to the marine environment of Venice should be carefully conserved, whereas the materials that deteriorate quickly should be replaced before a building is structurally jeopardized. Click on the links below to learn more:

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The 1964 Venice Charter presents an impediment to the preservation/conservation of the city as a whole. By mandating a broad attempt to keep the entire city intact, it allows the continued degradation of the whole. As pointed out, sometimes sections of brick, wood, or stone must be removed to maitain the integrity of a particular work, it becomes increasingly likely that sort of decision making must be brought to structures. Considering the investment in keeping the city above sea level, the funding for a complete city salvation are not likely to arrive. It is likely some sacrifices will have to be made.

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