Thursday, 26 July 2007

UNWELCOME TO VENICE

As you probably know, I am a passionate lover of Venice...


Imagine then, my surprise, when I read a speech made by Venice's Mayor Cacciari at a recent conference at Lake Garda in which he made some remarkable - well, extraodinary - suggestions about his city...
Please say that Venice smells, that merchants are expensive; please do adverse publicity. In Venice, we have to thin crowds, not attract them.

The tourists who arrive every year already number 20,000,000, and we are preparing for the Chinese tourist boom, which is a frightening prospect. In China, new tourist agencies have been opened by the dozen, and everyone includes tours to Venice.

The municipality doesn't get any benefit from this surge, and there are absurd costs for controlling trash and providing transportation. Tourism, beyond certain levels, becomes dangerous.

So, there you have it --- don't go to Venice!


Hmmmm...

Well, I guess Mayor Cacciari knows what he's doing, but whilst he may indeed be right in saying "tourism, beyond certain levels, becomes dangerous", he ought not to forget that tourism is also the life-blood of a city that no longer has any role to play in the affairs of the world other than as a place of beauty and inspiration and that without those problematical tourist Euros, Venice would finally die and sink into the lagoon...



[Images © Brian Sibley and David Weeks, 2007]

15 comments:

LisaH said...

If the mayor feels that way, maybe he should be trying to get 'Don't Look Now' re-released and promoted worldwide.
It certainly put me off going to Venice off-season. I think I'd be constantly looking over my shoulder for a little guy in a yellow oilskin coat.

Suzanne said...

Much as I adore the atmosphere of Venice, I can't help agreeing with mayor Cacciari. Those of you who have never visited Venice and feel hard done by could try other European cities: Prague and Vienna are beautiful places and I found Vienna almost as "romantic" as the city of the Doges.

Brian Sibley said...

LisaH - Forive picky point but the 'phantom child' in Roeg's 1973 movie, DON'T LOOK NOW, wore a RED coat not a yellow one...

Incidentally, having disappeared into the back streets of Venice, she next turned up - wearing the very same red coat! - in Spielberg's otherwise black-and-white film, SCHINDLER'S LIST...

Brian Sibley said...

SUZANNE - The trouble with Venice is that when it ceased to be a great political and merchantile power, it re-invented itself as a floating themepark and now has no other source of income other than that earned from tourism.

The city is, therefore, partly the mistress of her own fate having allowed so many of the grand palazzos to be turned into hotels and apartment complexes; and having permitted every little shop and store that once serviced the day-to-day needs of the genuine (if few) residents of Venice into an emporium for the sale of masks, tawdry glass trinketry or the over-priced luxuries of the international designer houses...

Elliot said...

Perhaps the Mayor doesn't like Chinese people...

Brian Sibley said...

ELLIOT - Yep, well, rice is rice and spaghetti is spaghetti...

Phil said...

Yes, but where do you draw the line between spaghetti and noodles?

Almot completely off-topic PS: Brian, you should visit my website to see Ray Bradbury advertising prunes...

Brian Sibley said...

PHIL - That's a difficult question, since both of them are sort of lines themselves...

Loved Ray's prune ad! Very funny! Here's the link for readers wishing to be "moved" by what is an entertaining (and unlikely) piece of early TV trivia!

Brian Sibley said...

SOPHIE writes...

Ah yes... Venice, Italy's answer to Tewkesbury...

LisaH said...

Actually, Brian, I was talking about the man with the knife, not the little girl!

Brian Sibley said...

LisaH - Touche! (Talking of sharp objects!) Thing is, I always thought the "little girl" was probably a midget - escaped from a circus!!

Elliot said...

There's a Chinese comedian at home who jokes that as rice was brought to Europe via the east that "risotto" is actually Chinese for "who fucked up the rice".

Brian Sibley said...

ELLIOT - Thank you, as always, for raising the tone of this blog! ;-)

Ryan Rasmussen said...

Haven't yet made it to Venice (or southern Europe, for that matter), but I totally get the mayor's "selfishness," tourist income notwithstanding. Having been to been to Stockholm (one of several "Venices of the North"!), I'm torn between wanting to promote and defend it (and the rest of Scandinavia) against surprisingly snarky guidebooks and TV programs like Globe Trekker and wanting to help keep others blissfully ignorant of its charms!

Boll Weavil said...

I don't know whether any of you have been up north of late but actually you really don't need to go to Venice to see water all over the streets !