Overview of cooperation between Venice and Tallinn

According to archive material, direct bilateral relations between Tallinn and Venice began in 1968-69. In 1984, Mario Rigo, the mayor of Venice, and Tiit Järve, then head of Tallinn city administration, signed a partnership agreement for 1984-85. However, there is no other, or more recent, written archival evidence relating to the bilateral relations and partnership agreement between the two cities.
This suggests that the most active bilateral relations between these two cities developed largely during 1980s, and mostly as contacts at the level of official delegations, and as various cultural exchanges.

In 1984, “Venice Days” were held for the first time in Tallinn. Activities during those days included Guest Performances of Teatro Maschere. Ahead of the Venice Days, in 1983, gondola makers led by master builder Giovanni Giuponi built a gondola, which was offered as a gift to the city of Tallinn. Two Tallinn citizens, Georg Jüriado ja Ado Tikerpäe, participated in the construction and thereafter studied to become gondolieri and subsequently offered gondola tours to all interested on various occasions.
In 1988 Tallinn Days in Venice were being organised, albeit initially postponed, and subsequently cancelled. The city of Tallinn website page relating to Venezia-Tallinn “gemellaggio” reports that, while formal exchanges continued, Tallinn's proposals for cooperation did not find support in Venice.
The promising revival of relations occurred in 1997 when the mayor of Venice invited the mayor of Tallinn on the occasion of Venice Biennale. The then vice-mayor of Tallinn, Ants Leemets, accompanied a delegation of Estonian artists. While the Tallinn side was interested in reviving the bilateral relations of the two cities, the initiative was put on hold again.

In 2003, on invitation from the mayor of Venice, the delegation of representatives of the city of Tallinn visited Venice to participate in the conference "On Line Citicenship: Emerging Technologies for European Cities". The mayors of the two cities met and expressed mutual interest in developing closer cooperation in the domain of protection and administration of the cultural heritage, the role of UNESCO in preserving monuments, cultural exchanges, including street theatres and open air events, as well as participation in shared projects that are related to the protection of cultural heritage, the development of business relations between Tallinn and Veneto, one of the richest and technologically advanced provinces in Italy. However, with a change in the mayorship of Venice, direct relations were again put on hold.

In 2013, the mayor of Venice convened a large conference of cities with whom Venice had twinning relationships, including Tallinn, S. Petersburg, Istanbul, Sarajevo, Dubrovnik, Suzhou, and Yerevan. On that occasion, a "Declaration of Venetian twin cities" was signed, where the importance of further collaboration for organisation of tourism, cultural heritage protection, entrepreneurship, and cooperation between cultural organisations and universities was recognised.

{based on material available on the webpage of the city of Tallinn (last updated on 28/10/2013), https://www.tallinn.ee/est/valissuhted/Veneetsia-suhted}