Venice’s 1600th Anniversary



Venice’s 1600th Anniversary


In collaboration with

The Doge of Venice, illustrated in the manuscript Théâtre de tous les peuples et nations de la terre avec leurs habits et ornemens divers, tant anciens que modernes, diligemment depeints au naturel. Painted by Lucas d’Heere in the 2nd half of the 16th century. Preserved by the Ghent University Library.

Why Venice?

On the occasion of the celebration of the 1600th anniversary of the mythical foundation of Venice, Itinerarte RLT – Centro Studi, in partnership with the Italian Cultural Institute of Pretoria, is promoting a day dedicated to the themes of safeguarding the ecosystem and the demographic and urban heritage of Venice.

The city is an extraordinary reference indicator for the analysis of global climate changes that impact the delicate urban environment of a city built on water;  of the effects generated by rising tides which have repercussions on the conservation of the architectural and artistic heritage, on the survival of human functions and dynamics.

Venice represents the frontier of the planetary climate collapse, and it is also a starting point for reconsidering and modulating actions aimed at sustainability and resilience.

 The intention to make Venice the ‘world capital of sustainability’ must be read in relation to the current situation: depopulation, the impoverishment of residential policies, the congestion generated by over-tourism, all problems not adequately addressed which, in the post-pandemic era, continue to undermine the fragile continuity of this city.

 Decades of scientific analysis and studies have led to a clear identification of the problems relating to this transition without, however, effectively inducing the search for definitive solutions: this has in any case entailed cutting-edge choices, both in terms of environmental protection technologies and as regards the development of initiatives aimed at safeguarding and conserving the artistic and cultural heritage.

However, there is no long-term political vision capable of determining the ‘success’ of this city which is historically a ‘Central place’, delivering it to the future not only as ‘urbs’ – as an urban, architectural, infrastructural and, more generally, heritage – but also because it is ‘civitas’ as a community of citizens and actors that determine the vitality of the centre. In this sense, reflection today also moves towards the design of good regeneration practices that want to lead to the overcoming concept of the city-museum, celebrating its historical identity and contemporary civic determination.

A RESILIENT CITY ON WATER, Venice’s 1600th Anniversary, is a project of meetings and seminars online and in the presence of Itinerarte RLT – Centro Studi by Domenico Salamino, with the participation of Claudia Polese (Wits University, School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering), Luigi Robuschi (Wits University, School of Literature, Language and Media), Laura Fregolent (IUAV – University of Architecture of Venice), Elena Zambardi (MOSE – Consorzio Venezia Nuova).

A partnership

Itinerarte RLT – Study Center and Italian Institute of Culture – Embassy of Italy in Pretoria


The webinar will take place online (ZOOM platform) on the 13th of May 2022 at 09:00 am GMT+1 & SAST


Event Moderator: Dr Federica Gullino
Q&A and Interactive Sessions Moderators: Prof. Claudia Polese & Ms Taahirah Mangera


Formal Opening
HE Paolo Cuculi, Ambassador of Italy to South Africa, Dr Domenico Salamino, Head of Itinerarte RLT and Project Curator, Prof. Robert Reid, Head of the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering


The 1600 Years of Venice: Origins and Myth of the “Serenissima”
Prof. Luigi Robuschi (Wits)
09:45-09:55 Q&A Session


Resilient Venice
Prof. Laura Fregolent (IUAV)
10:40-10:50 Q&A Session


Comfort Break


The MOSE SYSTEM: an Integrated Plan of Interventions for the Protection of Venice and its Lagoon
Dr Elena Zambardi (Consorzio Venezia Nuova) and Prof. Laura Fregolent (IUAV)
12:05-12:15 Q&A Session


The Mobile Barriers at the Inlets
Dr Elena Zambardi (Consorzio Venezia Nuova)
13:00-13:10 Q&A Session


Interactive Session & Closing Remarks

Project Curator: Domenico Salamino, Director Itinerarte RLT

Curatorial Committee Members

Matteo Fazzi (Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Pretoria)
Federica Gullino (Itinerarte RLT – Centro Studi)
Claudia Polese (Wits, School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering)
Luigi Robuschi (Wits, School of Literature, Language and Media)


Paolo Cuculi

Ambassador of Italy to South Africa

H.E. Mr Paolo Cuculi obtained a Master’s Degree in Political Science at «LUISS» University of Rome.

He entered the Italian diplomatic service in 1992, working in the Directorate-General for Personnel. In 1994, he was appointed Second Secretary for Trade in Khartoum, and in 1997 he moved to the Embassy in Bangkok as First Secretary. In July 2000, he was appointed First Secretary at the Italian Mission to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

After returning to the Ministry in 2002, he served as the Directorate-General for Political, Multilateral and Human Rights Affairs. Starting from 2006, he has been First Counsellor at the Mission to the United Nations in New York, during Italy’s two-year term as Member of the UN Security Council. Since 2010 he served first as Frist Counsellor, then as Minister Plenipotentiary, at the Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, during Italy’s three-year term as Member of the UN Human Rights Council.
Back in Rome in 2015, he served at the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation, of which he became Deputy Director-General and Central Director for Programming and Implementation of Cooperation Initiatives.

Since April 15, 2019, he is the Ambassador of Italy in South Africa.

Domenico Salamino

Director Itinerarte RLT

Founder and CEO of ITINERARTE RLT, a specialist in Medieval and Byzantine Art History, he obtained a Degree in Conservation of Cultural Heritage and a PhD in Ancient History and Archeology, History of Art at Ca’Foscari University.

He has taught for Italian cultural Institutes for foreigners, Universities and Foundations; historical and documentary consultancy on behalf of public administrations and private organizations, projects related to UNESCO; training courses for several tourism promotion organizations and tourist guide associations.

As Scientific Director he oversees and coordinates the production, research and development activities in the field of applied Humanities, educational and training, cultural tourism; events for studying and promotion of the historical, artistic and cultural heritage in Italy and abroad; digitalization and technological innovation projects in the context of the enhancement of Cultural and Environmental Heritage, and sustainable cultural tourism. He is the Curator and scientific Director for specialist seminars and research and educational projects for in-depth study and training.

He mainly deals with Archeology and History of the City and Architecture, and Christian iconography. His research is dedicated to the permanence of the Byzantine tradition in the Medieval and Renaissance world; to the circulation of urban and architectural models and theoretical principles in the post-Byzantine age, in Southern Italy and in the territories of Venice; the history of Medieval and Renaissance sculpture; to the History of the mosaic.

He is the scientific Director of the ‘Materia Marciana’ project and the Scholae et Civitas 2022 project for the study of the relationship between established societies and the arts in the Republic of Venice.

Since 2021 he is the Project Curator of the Itinerarte International Conference on Resilient Heritage, a program of research, studies, and training connected to the relationship between Cultural Heritage, resilience, environmental sustainability and regeneration of historical urban centres. Climate change, territorial policies and the development of sustainable cultural tourism are important topics of the Conference.

Robert Reid

Head: School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand

Associate Professor Robert Reid is an aeronautical engineer. He obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and was then employed as a structural analyst at the CSIR in Pretoria where he was involved in the structural design of a wide range of composite aerospace structures. He returned to the University as a lecturer in 1995 and subsequently obtained a PhD in the field of residual stresses in composite structures.

Since 2014 he has been the Head of the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering. He is a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the current co-chair of ALICANTO, The International Association of Aviation and Aerospace Education. Prof Reid is an active researcher in the field of residual stresses in both composite and metallic structures and is a member of the ASM Technical Committee on Residual Stress.


Luigi Robuschi

Associate Professor of Italian Studies: School of Literature, Language and Media, University of the Witwatersrand

Luigi Robuschi (Università di Padova 2012) is an associate professor of Italian Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. His research interests are focused on Renaissance Venice. He has published a book-length monograph on the relationships between Venice and the Order of Malta, entitled La croce e il leone: le relazioni tra Venezia e Ordine di Malta (secoli XIV-XVIII) (Milano, 2015).

Furthermore, he published several articles and book chapters on history of diplomacy, Mediterranean Studies and Intellectual History. He is currently working on a monograph on the rhetoric and political communication in Renaissance Venice.

Laura Fregolent

Professor of Technique and Urban Planning at the IUAV University of Venice

Laura Fregolent, architect, PhD in Sciences and Methods for the city and the European Territory is a professor of Technique and Urban Planning at the IUAV University of Venice.

Cities and territories transformations are the main focus of her research and studying: politics and relevant solutions for understanding and projecting changes. She worked for several International and National projects with public and private institutions and foundations, focusing her studying on urban regeneration, house management and social mobilization in emergency situations.

She is the President of the Veneto Region for INU (Urbanistic National Institute). Since 2007 she is the Coordinator for the summer school organized by IUAV and MIT in Boston: she was invited by the Curator Hashim Sarkis to have a conference on the topic: ”Resilient Venice” in the section of the 17th Biennale International Architecture exhibit 2021.

Elena Zambardi

Consorzio Venezia Nuova

Elena Zambardi is graduated in Political Sciences and has a Master’s degree in public Administration Sciences.

For over 20 years she has been involved in the dissemination of knowledge of the program of interventions for the safeguard of Venice and its lagoon – Mose System – that is carried out by the Provveditorato for public Works of the Triveneto – Ministry of Infrastructures and sustainable Mobility through the concessionary Consorzio Venezia Nuova.

She has presented in several international contexts the Mose system as a model of managing complex systems, as an example of adaptation to climate change and as a generator of a vast wealth of multidisciplinary knowledge.

She deals with the relations with the I-STORM Network on storm surge barriers which bring together the managers of flood defence systems around the world.

Claudia Polese

Associate Professor in Aerospace Manufacturing and Design: School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand

Professor Claudia Polese has a strong background in aeronautical metal structures and innovative aerospace technologies. She obtained her Masters and PhD at the Department of Aerospace Engineering of the University of Pisa, Italy. She worked as Research Engineer at the Institute of Materials Research of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne, Germany, and in two European Framework Programs focused on advanced structural concepts. In 2009 she was appointed Associate Professor in Aerospace Manufacturing and Design at the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Advisory Aerospace Research Director of the National Aerospace Centre. A National Research Foundation rated researcher from 2011 and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Prof. Polese is also deeply involved in the activities of the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials, and she is currently Head of the Aeronautical Engineering Stream in the School.

Prof. Polese has significantly strengthened the South African research in the area of advanced manufacturing processes, e.g. Friction Stir Welding, Titanium Machining, Additive Manufacturing, Cold Spray, and in particular Laser Shock Peening in collaboration with the National Laser Centre of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Airbus, and several international institutions.

Taahirah Mangera

Lecturer: School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand

Ms Taahirah Mangera obtained her Masters in Mechanical Engineering at the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, where she is currently appointed as a Lecturer. Prior to this, she worked as research student at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, on the development of a functional paediatric prosthetic knee for manufacture in developing countries. In 2016 she was appointed Murray and Roberts Associate Lecturer at the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering where she coordinated student projects in industry. Her research focus has been to develop the field of Biomechanics in the School through several research projects, including the award of the Badminton World Federation research grant for a study in collaboration with Badminton South Africa and the Wits Institute for Sport and Health.

Federica Gullino

Itinerarte Cultural Project Curator
Event moderator

Federica Gullino graduated in International and Diplomatic Sciences, a branch of Political Sciences, in 2005 at Trieste University (Italy), later she decided to follow her passion for history getting a PhD in European Modern History at “La Sapienza”, University of Rome (Italy), in 2008. Her Phd thesis became a book: “Quando la maestra insegnava “T” come Trst” (only Italian version), published by Franco Angeli (2011). For the European Academy of Friuli Venezia Giulia, she presented it at Gorizia as part of the conference “North Adriatic Sea, the entrance to Europe” (Alto Adriatico, porta d’Europa).

In 2008, she earned the Tour Leader license and started to work for incoming cruises in Veneto Region. Also in 2008, through 2011, she collaborated with the Education Department of the Municipality of Venice for the project named “Educational Itineraries” (“Itinerari educativi”). She personally created some artistic and historical itineraries about Venice, that she taught to high school students throughout the Province of Venice. In 2009, she received her license for Tour Guide in Venice, passing the examination for English, Spanish and Portuguese. In April 2022, Federica became a member of Itinerarte RTL like CEO assistant and cultural projects curator.

Venice. A resilient city on water