Venice is a luxury theme park where one pays, looks and keeps silent. This is more or less the summary made last week by its mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, to justify a restaurant near St. Mark’s Square charging a family of three who did not speak Italian 526.50 euros (2,010 reais). The tourists, outraged that they had brought dishes they had not asked for, paid the bill and wrote a letter to the mayor because these things “could ruin Venice’s reputation.” They did not want reimbursement, they said. Only regret what happened. Brugnaro’s response in an interview with Sky 24 was even more surprising: “The person eats and drinks, and then says he does not know Italian. If you come to Italy, learn the language, and even a little Venetian. They ate a lobster and did not even tip. ” An explanation, in short, that speaks of a whole model.
The overexploitation of Venice, the most affected city in the world (55,000 inhabitants to 24 million visitors per year) has deepened with the arrival of cruise ships. This year 2.5 million passengers landed and the charm of its lagoon has turned into a grotesque postcard with giant boats a few meters from the Ducal Palace. Therefore, the Government approved, to come into force in January 2018, the gradual reduction in the traffic of these megabytes. For the time being, access will be open to those with less than 55,000 tons; those who exceed this weight will be diverted to Malamocco’s passage and will dock at the port of Marghera in Mestre.
Is this enough? The measure responds to one of the conditions imposed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to prevent Venice from being removed from the list of World Heritage cities. A plan for the fragile urban ecosystem of 455 bridges joining the city’s 118 islands does not drift. But the project announced by the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport did not convince the organizations, which collected 18,000 signatures in defense of the complete removal of the cruise ships from Laguna and their diversion to Trieste. At the moment every day they continue to dock up to six cruises with 4,000 people on board.
The truth is that Venice quickly becomes a beautiful setting ever more empty. Its population has been reduced by two-thirds since the middle of the last century, also by the havoc caused by high water – the tides that flood the lowest points of the city. Today it continues to fall at a rate of 1,000 people a year, while in the same period more tourists arrive that destroy the commercial and residential fabric. On July 12, the police chief restricted the number of participants and boats at the Redentore party. Then there was talk of stopping the flow throughout the city, putting obstacles or charging entrance: the definitive pandora box for the picking. But it would not be strange, considering that the Italians have to pay to have access to most of the beaches.
Source: Tourism Journal