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Carol Schmidt

Mar 18, 2005, 4:56 PM

Post #1 of 1 (621 views)


Venice, Italy, a city truly being "adored to death"

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We think we have it bad with all the tourists and exploiters hovering around our fair city? Consider the plight of Venice, Italy, which gets 14 MILLION visitors a year to a town of 65,000 (down by half from recent years), which is just a bit smaller than San Miguel!

At least we're in good company, along with all the most beautiful cities in the world that always have their detractors upset at all the attention.

Someone sent me this movie review from the New York Times on a film about Venice, "A city being adored to death." When you're wonderful, many will come, and a few will stay away. As Yogi Berra said about some place or another, "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded."

Carol Schmidt
A Portrait of a City Being Admired to Death By STEPHEN HOLDEN

>Something is way out of balance when a historic city has become such an alluring magnet that its annual tourist traffic outnumbers the resident population by more than 200 to 1. That is the situation addressed in Carole and Richard Rifkind's documentary, "The Venetian Dilemma," which casts a sharply critical eye on plans to accelerate tourism in Venice, a city that already receives 14 million tourists a year.
>The filmmakers, both New Yorkers, acquired a second home in Venice in 1990. The hordes descending on the city are a far cry from the wealthy European and American visitors of earlier decades who made it an elite cafe-society playground. The camera-toting mobs who arrive are more the sorts whose idea of a souvenir from anywhere is a Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt or a coffee mug.

>They whir through the canals in motorized water taxis that exceed speed limits - which are unenforced - because faster trips allow more rides, and more rides mean more revenue. The damage, already well documented, to ancient building foundations by propeller-driven waves is enormous. The movie warns that if Venice's current population of 65,000 continues to shrink (it was more than twice that in 1960), the 1,500-year-old city could make the final plunge from a place where people live and work into a museum.

>It is already a kind of high-art Disneyland. Mask shops have sprouted everywhere, but it's difficult to find a bakery. Bars and restaurants with outside seating, owned by international operators employing Venetian managers, are crowding out the teeming street life.....>

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