Venice – Italy
“Every summer, Venice is a setting for the same scene: thousands of visitors arriving daily on cruise ships, drunk tourists diving off bridges and people peeing outside homes and exclusive hotels at 9AM. The legendary city is losing its character and gaining the nickname “Disneyland on the sea”.
Mass tourism is nothing new for Venice, but over the last few years it’s been getting out of hand. The numbers vary, but it’s said around 30 million tourists visit the small city every year. The impact of that is so damaging that the UN has threatened to put Venice on its list of endangered heritage sites if it can’t find a way to deal with the volume of tourists, particularly those coming from cruise ships.
Venetian authorities have taken measures in an attempt to reduce the nuisance for locals – like fining misbehaving tourists and limiting access to some monuments and squares. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for many locals, who are fleeing the city in large numbers. There are less than 55,000 people now living in the city, compared to 175,000 in the 1950s.
Mind you, a number of remaining Venetians are fighting back; earlier this year, 25,000 people voted to ban giant cruise ships from docking in the lagoon, though a similar effort in 2015 was ignored by the local government. A few months ago, 2,000 locals gathered on the streets to protest, in a march called “Mi no vado via” (I’m not leaving). Giampietro Gagliardi, a member of local action group Generazione ’90, told local press that there were plenty of Venetians still willing to stand up for their city. “We want to make it clear,” he said, “Venetians are here and fighting to stay. We want to re-appropriate our city, saving it from the mono-culture of tourism.”
– Leonardo Bianchi, News editor VICE Italy
Why are the wells are capped in Venice? It is because each well had its own water system underground and this was eroding the earth so the wells were capped and therefore Venice is now no longer sinking so fast, if at all.
People have been put off from going to Venice because their friends have remarked on the smell yet whilst we were there, there was no smell. Just a slight whiff upon leaving our hotel one morning.
If and when you do go, please give Venezia, my love.
~ SJ (Sara Jae)