Italy will assume the patronage for the reconstruction of Odesa and its region. The decision was announced in a joint Italy-Ukraine statement on Oct. 2, during a visit by Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani.
The commitment is the fruit of a dialogue between the Italian and Ukrainian governments that began on April 26, 2023, when Italy and Ukraine co-organized a Bilateral Conference in Rome. At the conference they defined the tools necessary for the reconstruction of Ukraine and committed to strengthening bilateral cooperation. The conference was intended to send a strong message of cooperation, particularly between Ukrainian and Italian companies, encouraging them to work together for the economic revival of the war-torn country.
Subsequently, a delegation of Italian cultural institutions coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited Odesa on Sept. 7 to explore the sites affected by Russian missile attacks over the summer, including the Cathedral of the Transfiguration. The day after the most important Orthodox church in the city was struck on July 23, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Foreign Minister Tajani immediately expressed to the Ukrainian government Italy’s intention to contribute to its reconstruction as well as that of other damaged cultural sites in the historic city center protected by UNESCO.
During the visit of the Italian team, composed of Stefano Boeri, President of the Triennale Museum in Milan, and Alessandro Giuli, President of the MAXXI Museum in Rome, together with the Ambassador Pier Francesco Zazo in Kyiv and the head of the Italy-Ukraine task force of the Foreign Ministry Davide La Cecilia, Odessa was chosen as the ideal location for the Ukrainian Reconstruction Laboratory, which will be presented at an event in Milan on Oct. 31.
Italy intends to establish an international hub for the reconstruction of Ukrainian cities and territory, following the principles of urban regeneration and innovation. Italy’s patronage of Odesa and its region will entail commitments in the spheres of urban planning, environmental issues, digitalization, infrastructure, maritime industry, transport, culture and tourism.
Italy’s decision regarding Odesa stems also from the historical and cultural ties between the maritime capital of Ukraine and Italy, whose emigrants contributed to the construction of the new port on the Black Sea at the end of the 18th century. In fact, Italy had already contributed to the drafting of the dossier for the inclusion of the historic center of Odesa as World Heritage Site and in the UNESCO List of Ukrainian cultural sites in danger.
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