The devastating floods in Venice and Florence in 1966 rendered thousands of people homeless and destroyed priceless works of art, a disaster to which UNESCO immediately responded by launching an international campaign. When its numismatic programme started in 1974, UNESCO minted one of its earliest medals to mark this event.

Founded in the fifth century and spread over 118 small islands, Venice became a major maritime power in the tenth century. The whole city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the world’s greatest artists. Venice and its lagoon were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987. 

The medal was designed by Italian sculptor Pietro Consagra, many of whose works are closely identified with Venice. The obverse side shows an abstract spiral, characteristic of Consagra’s style. The reverse features another abstract rendition of man’s role in a changing environment, with the inscription Pro Venezia, UNESCO.

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