Can Venice Be Saved?
Photo courtesy Thinkstock.
It is the opinion of some that Venice is being ripped apart by a pervasive tourism industry that is threatening to erase its charm and culture.
“A rapacious tourist monoculture threatens Venice’s existence, decimating the historic city and turning the Queen of the Adriatic into a Disneyfied shopping mall,” writes Salvatore Settis in The New York Times.
There are also many people who probably agree with Settis’ sentiments as an influx of tourists regularly descend on the city, seemingly taking it over in their pursuit of Venice’s charms.
“Tourism is tearing apart Venice’s social fabric, cohesion and civic culture, growing ever more predatory,” observes Settis. “The number of visitors to the city may rise even further now that international travelers are avoiding destinations like Turkey and Tunisia because of fears of terrorism and unrest.”
Setts makes a valid point, noting that no longer will Venice’s current infrastructure uphold its visitor population.
“This means that the 2,400 hotels and other overnight accommodations the city now has no longer satisfy the travel industry’s appetites. The total number of guest quarters in Venice’s historic center could reach 50,000 and take it over entirely,” he says.
Even UNESCO has expressed concern as to the state of city.
Settis refers readers to a UNESCO report in July that said, “the combination of ongoing transformations and proposed projects threatening irreversible changes to the overall relationship between the City and its Lagoon,” which would, in its thinking, erode the integrity of Venice.
While an influx of tourism is one of the city’s major problems, a lack of effective governance and ballooning debt also seem to play a part in its struggles overall.
“To renew Venice’s economic life, new policies are strongly needed, aimed at encouraging young people to stay in the historic city, encouraging manufacturing and generating opportunities for creative jobs — from research to universities and the art world — while reutilizing vacant buildings,” Settis points out.
For more on the growing crisis in the Venice, read on here.
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