Wikimedia Italia and Europa Nostra held successful ‘Wiki Loves Monuments’ exhibition in Venice

From 18 to 26 September, Wikimedia Italia and Europa Nostra held the exhibition ‘Wiki Loves Monuments on Display’ at the cloister of San Francesco della Vigna in Venice, in the frame of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2021. Some 500 people visited this special exhibition, which celebrated the 10 editions of the photographic contest Wiki Loves Monuments in Italy and raised awareness of the importance of providing free access to valuable content on online platforms for the protection of heritage.

'Wiki Loves Monuments on Display' Exhibition, Venice, Italy

For many years now, Europa Nostra has been a partner of Wiki Loves Monuments. This year, with the European Cultural Heritage Summit taking place in Venice, presented a great opportunity to collaborate with Wikimedia Italia for this unique exhibition.

‘Wiki Loves Monuments on Display’ was launched on 18 September in the presence of some 40 visitors, including representatives from Wikimedia Italia and Europa Nostra. In her address at the launch event, Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, praised the Wiki Loves Monuments for encouraging and actively contributing to the free access content and exchange of knowledge. “Cultural heritage does not belong to one group, one country or one culture: cultural heritage belongs to all of us… and it belongs to future generations!,” she stated. “The success of Wiki Loves Monuments… proves how much people love heritage and love to interact with it and to share their creative interpretation of it”, she added.

For nine consecutive days, visitors had the chance to admire in person the winning photos of the 10 Italian editions of the Wiki Loves Monuments, including the 2020 winners, as well as the photos of Italian monuments that have been awarded in the international contest since 2012 (the full selection of photos is available online on Wikimedia Commons). Some 500 people visited the exhibition, while a great number of them expressed the interest to be informed to follow the next initiatives of the organisers.

'Wiki Loves Monuments on Display' Exhibition, Venice, Italy

Wiki Loves Monuments is the largest photographic contest in the world inviting all citizens to document cultural heritage, taking photographs to be published under a free licence on Wikimedia Commons. By publishing their photos on Wikimedia Commons, the participants in the contest can share beauty with the rest of the world and help raise awareness of, but also protect, monuments being neglected or facing physical disasters.

In Italy, over 15,900 monuments have already been documented, with 155,000 shots. In 2021, thanks to the efforts of the Wiki Loves Valle del Primo Presepe organisers, Amatrice and many towns hit by the 2016 earthquake in central Italy joined the contest. The photos collected may help preserve the memory of the monuments hit by the earthquake, if not to rebuild them.

We hope that this is just the beginning of a decade full of fruitful synergies between Europa Nostra and Wiki Loves Monuments to celebrate the beauty of our shared world heritage but also raise the alarm for heritage under threat.

Special thanks to Wikimedia Italia and the local team of Wiki Loves Monuments for organising this exhibition and to the Brothers of San Francesco della Vigna for hosting it.

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