Venice under siege February 18, 2007Posted by dorigo in news, personal, politics, social life.
Today it is the Sunday of Carnival, and Venice is under siege. More than half a million people are visiting the city today (as they did yesterday), to walk around in fancy costumes, have fun, and enjoy the sunny and warm weather of this warm February.
Here is the view from my kitchen’s window:
Usually the calle besides my house is quite calm, but today I am hearing people sing, drums, voices, simply noise. It is nice to look at all these people having fun. On the other hand, every time I see Venice flooded with tourists I cannot help feeling that this anciet, beautiful city is being raped.
The thing is, Venice is slowly dying. It is becoming an entertainment park no less than its copy built in Las Vegas. Less than 55,000 people inhabit it, whose average age is about 55 years. Young couples cannot afford the expensive housing, the lack of facilities, and the trouble of living in a place where you have to walk your kids to school rather than drive them there, or bringing groceries up and down bridges by feet rather than in the trunk of your SUV.
I have nothing against the people who come and visit Venice, even for just an afternoon of fun. But I think we could exploit the attractiveness of this city by applying a small entrance fee. If it is an amusement park, let’s preserve it with money from visitors. The income from a 1-euro/day ticket would go a long way to keep the city alive – 50 million euros a year could indeed create job opportunities, help social policies, and prevent further exile of its citizens.
Who opposes this ? Of course, the owners of hotels, restaurants and bars. They fear a loss of income from a entrance ticket. And the city bows to that lobby… Yes, Venice is not far from becoming a theme park and nothing else. Maybe I should stop worrying about surging water levels (I worry for my children more than for me), and plan to leave myself.