Killing Venice, Inside and Out

One of my first posts back in 2005 chronicled Petrarch's frustration with the tall ships ("floating mountains," he called them) dwarfing the Venetian cityscape back in 1363. What would he have thought of the impact of the ginormous cruise ships which dock there today?!

This past week, citizen environmental groups published a damning report of the ecological impact of these behemoths on the fragile ecosystem that is the Venetian lagoon! You can read more at Cruise ships devastating Venice lagoon, report says | Italy Magazine...

But Venice isn't just being assaulted from the outside. When I first arrived in Venice 15 years ago, its population stood at over 70,000 - having been cut in half over the previous 3 decades or so. Today, Venetians number little more than 60,000. Can the population decline be stopped?
A group of young Venetians [pictured above!] are selling themselves as the last of a dying breed in a bid to stop developers turning their home town into a place only tourists can afford. "Born and bred Venetians, excellent pedigree, last in stock: movie extras, fancy-dress parties, high-toned decoration. Going fast!" reads the eBay offer whose price has risen from 10 to 2,800 euros in a day. [and is now up to over 5000 euros! Read more at - Pedigree Venetians bid to save town]
The move's bringing lots of attention to bear on Venice's plight, but is it too little too late?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently watched the spooky 1973 movie DON'T LOOK NOW (Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie) which is a great showcase for Venice 35 years ago.

There was this memorable bit of dialogue:

(blind woman):
"One of the things I love about Venice is that it's so safe for me to walk. The sound changes you see as you come to a canal. And the echoes from the walls are so clear.
My sister hates it. She says it's like a city in aspic, left over from a dinner party, and all the guests are dead and gone. It frightens her."