The city of Venice, Italy contains a large and unique collection of artifacts that are displayed on public view, dating as far back as the year 700 AD. The collection includes reliefs, roundels, confraternity insignia, coats of arms, flagpole pedestals, inscriptions, wellheads, street altars, and a variety of other secular and religious symbols of Venice's material culture. These artifacts have been largely neglected by the numerous preservation efforts that have been undertaken since the historic flood of 1966.

This vernacular heritage, which records the various stages of the thousand-year evolution of Venice's history from the perspective of the citizens of yesteryear, is being saved by today's citizens through a combination of high technology, social networks, and citizen engagement.

About PreserVenice

PreserVenice is a non-profit organization based in Venice, Italy. Our goals:

  • Identify and prioritize at-risk Venetian public art objects.
  • Solicit donations from the general public using crowdfunding techniques and new technological tools including smartphone apps.
  • When sufficient funds have been raised, oversee the restoration of the objects.

Where did these data come from?

The primary sources for these data are the catalogs of Alberto Rizzi, surveys by volunteers from the Earthwatch Institute, and the work of university students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. During the past 25 years, extensive surveys have been conducted in Venice and the islands of its lagoon, and virtually every type of public art has been cataloged and verified under the guidance of Archeoclub d'Italia, one of the pre-eminent heritage preservation organizations in Italy.

The following is a list of projects that have contributed to PreserVenice's current catalog:

  • A Computerized Catalog of Flagstaff Pedestals in Venice, Italy (1997)
  • A Computerized Catalog of Outdoor Art in Dorsoduro, Venice (1995)
  • A Computerized Catalog of the Well-heads of Venice In the Sestiere of Dordoduro (1995)
  • An Archeological and Analytical Study of Venetian Church Floors (2004)
  • An Outdoor Art Inventory of the San Marco Sestiere (1993)
  • Church Floors in Venice, Italy: An Archeological Study and Analysis (2002)
  • Computerized Catalog of Venetian Decorative Keystones (1995)
  • Embedded Heritage: a study of Venetian Church Floors (2005)
  • Exploring the history of Venice - relics, records, and relations (2010)
  • Outdoor Art Inventory of the Sestiere di Castello (1994)
  • Portali e Lunette: A Multimedia Catalog for the Preservation of Venice's Artistic Entrances (2002)
  • Preservation and Restoration of Venetian Public Art - From the Completion of the Public Art Catalog to the Active Restoration Process (2003)
  • PreserVenice: Preserving the Material Culture of Venice (2011)
  • PreserVenice: Preserving Venetian Material Culture (2010)
  • PreserVenice: Venetian Public Art (2007)
  • PreserVenice:Preserving Venetian Public Art (2009)
  • Preserving Venetian Heritage (2008)
  • Preserving Venetian Wellheads (2000)
  • Public Art Preservation in Venice: Non-public Wellheads and Fountains (2004)
  • The Forgotten Art of Venice: Promoting the Conservation and Awareness of External Sculpture (2000)
  • The Interrelations of Weather, Pollution, and Acid Precipitation in Venice and their Effects on Indoor and Outdoor Art (1991)
  • Treasures Underfoot: Preserving Venice's Church Floor Artifacts (2012)
These data have been available online since 2004.


PreserVenice acknowledges the support of the following organizations: