The Mayor of Odesa, Gennadiy Trukhanov, welcomed an Italian government delegation headed by the Special Envoy for the Reconstruction and Strengthening of Ukraine’s Stability, Davide La Cecilia, in Odesa for an official visit on Feb. 9. The Italian officials were accompanied by the Head of UNESCO desk in Kyiv, Chiara Dezzi Bardeschi.

A working meeting in the City Council was held to discuss restoration of the Transfiguration Cathedral and to present the UNESCO plan for the reconstruction of historical buildings in Odesa damaged by Russian attacks. Chiara Dezzi Bardeschi indicated the main directions of cooperation: the urgent stabilization of damaged monuments, the creation of a masterplan for the management of cultural heritage objects.

“Today, a very significant and responsible meeting for Odesa took place, when a round table was held to discuss the road map, according to which we will move forward,” Trukhanov said.

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The Special Envoy La Cecilia reminded that in October 2023, Italy took an official patronage over the reconstruction of Odesa and began to cooperate with UNESCO on this matter. He added that with the start of Italy’s presidency of the G7, from Jan. 1, 2024, the issue of rebuilding Ukraine was also included in the priorities of the G7.

Special Envoy Davide La Cecilia

“Our project was born from the desire to involve, on the basis of a proposal from the Triennale di Milano and the MAXXI Museum in Rome that the Farnesina [Italian Foreign Ministry] is carrying out together with the Ministry of Culture, creatives and designers, international cultural institutions, Italian companies and economic entities for an urban and architectural regeneration of Ukrainian cities, starting from Odesa of which we have assumed the patronage, in a logic of green, digital and sustainable transformation,” La Cecilia said.

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The day before, on Feb. 8, Italy and UNESCO agreed officially to provide €500,000 towards the restoration of the roof of Odesa’s Orthodox Cathedral of Transfiguration. The agreement was signed in Kyiv by Ambassador Pier Francesco Zazo, for Italy, and by Bardeschi, as UNESCO Head for Ukraine, in the presence of the Director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) in Kyiv, Pietro Pipi.

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“Italy is very committed, through its institutions and its industrial capacity, to the reconstruction of Ukraine," ambassador Pier Francesco Zazo said, underlining Italy’s expertise in the restoration of monuments and cultural objects.

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