Italy's new Minister of Culture, Giancarlo Galan, has told the La Nuova Venzia newspaper that the mega-ads in St Mark's Square and down the Grand Canal must go. “Tourists should not be faced with such a horrible sight, and the advertisers themselves must be finding the ads are bad publicity”, he said. “The money to pay for the restoration that the advertisements are financing will have to be raised in other ways.”
The decision follows stinging attacks on the Italian Government over the use of giant advertisements on some of Venice's most historic sights. Facing a funding crunch as masonry began to crack and tumble from some of its ancient palazzi, Venice began to offer adversing space in 2008 on the awnings used to cover scaffolding erected for restoration around St Mark's Square and up and down the Grand Canal.
But local conservationists said the advertisements to pay for essential maintenance got out of hand when a Coca-Cola advertisement all but obliterated views of the Bridge of Sighs behind the Palazzo Ducale. Dubbed the “Bridge of Signs”, the structure is being rented out for €40,000 a month.
Image: A mega-ad covers the area surrounding Venice's Bridge of Sighs