Saturday, July 18, 2009

Who will be the last Venetian left?

Beauty is so difficult – a phrase reiterated by Cathy Newman – initially spoken by Yeats - in her article, “Can Venice be Saved?” in the August issue of National Geographic.

An evocative article about the dual role and conflict of Venice as a tourist attraction and historic, residential city. The problems outlined in this article and the sympathies of the local inhabitants are not unlike those that Hawaiians are facing in their homeland. Maybe both are similar due to their land mass (island) and the importance of their survival based on tourism, their life blood, which carries with it conflicts and costs to their standard/price of living and doing business, and the tensions weighing on their infrastructures.

It is suggested that some of Venice’s problems are self-inflicted, some are historically self-perpetuating, and some are fatal. Nay-sayers tout it’s too late to ‘fix’ the problem of local businesses becoming defunct and the exodus of younger Venetians. This is the reality of the Venice of today. Newman surmises that 'Venice will remain but the people will not’. She cites that there were 60,000 Venetian residents in 2007 and this number is significantly dwindling each year, leaving a void in the younger generation of Venetians. Contrast that fact with the statistic of 21 million tourists in 2007 and you begin to understand the topic of her article and the tensions faced in contemporary Venice today.

Although the article is food for thought, the romance, beauty and history of Venice is still alive .. for me.


Trekcapri said...

Hi Flygirl, interesting post. I love Venice. And everytime I read Annie's blog I love Venice even more.

Venice is beautiful to me because of it's history, architecture, churches, traditions, way of life and especially the people. It makes me sad to think that the population of Venetians in Venice is dwindling. Not sure what the solution can be for this dual role and conflict. Maybe acknowleding the issue and making sure that future decisions are made to strike a balance in this dual role.

Thanks for the interesting and thought provoking post.

flygirl said...

Hi K: I'm glad you found it to be thought-provoking too. I agree with your comment about acknoledging the issue and assuring future decisions lend themselves to the vitality of Venice..

Annie said...

I read the NatGeo article today. I'm not sure what the solution is and can understand why young people don't want to and/or can't afford to live in Venice. I too hope they can come up with some solutions!

girasoli said...

Hawaii really is heading the same way. Hopefully it will be a long time but the cost of living and the lack of land, children leaving for jobs on the mainland, survival due to tourism. Interesting.