Venice’s mayor has mocked critics of the giant billboards that cover many of the city’s historic monuments undergoing repair following an appeal by leading international museum directors and architects.
Giorgio Orsoni, speaking in a phone interview with AFP, advised disgruntled tourists to go home and look at photographs of the Bridge of Sighs or St. Mark’s Square from the comfort of their own sofa.
“What difference does it make if the scaffolding shows a picture of the building underneath or an advert,” Orsoni said.
“If people want to see the building they should go home and look at a picture of it in a book,” he added.
Addressing his critics, Orsoni quoted a Venetian saying that translates as: “Before you speak, be quiet.”
Growing anger over the huge, floodlit advertisements that obscure palaces up and down the Grand Canal drove art world figures to ask for tighter rules in an appeal to Venice’s mayor published in The Art Newspaper.
“We ask you to imagine the disappointment that the 17.5 million visitors to Venice this year will feel,” read the plea.
“They come to this iconic city with an image of it in their mind’s eye and instead they see its famous views grotesquely defaced,” it said.
Buildings covered by billboards this year include the Palazzo Ducale in St. Mark’s Square, the Santa Maria della Salute basilica and the Bridge of Sighs.
Signatories of the appeal included award-winning British architect Norman Foster, as well as the directors of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, London’s British Museum and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
But Orsoni said the advertisements were necessary as they were helping to fund the renovation of buildings badly in need of repair.
1. mock v.
嘲笑 (chao2 xiao4)
例: Gary was mocked by his classmates for shaving off all his hair.(蓋瑞因為剃光頭而被同學嘲笑。)
2. scaffolding n.
鷹架 (ying1 jia4)
例: Most of the scaffolding around the building collapsed during the earthquake.
3. obscure v.
遮住 (zhe1 zhu4)
例: A large truck obscured our view of the palace. (一台大卡車遮住我們對於宮殿的視線。)
4. signatory n.
簽署方 (qian1 shu4 fang1)
例: All the signatories of the agreement agreed to reduce their carbon emissions.
“The only way to get around the problem would be to have a magic wand and repair all the buildings in Venice without having to cover them up,” he said.
“These days public money is tight. I would be very happy to accept donations... if they’re willing to give them,” he added.