Death of Venice

The Times has a couple of sad pieces on Venice.

Kneeling, he touches the foundation of one of the marble columns holding up St Mark’s Basilica, which symbolised Venetian power for a millennium. Fragments come away in his fingers.

“Water now enters the church 200 times a year,” said Mr Tesserin, administrator of the 11th century Italo-Byzantine masterpiece overlooking St Mark’s Square. “The marble is literally crumbling thanks to the corrosive salt.”

Venice is one of the most magical places on earth. I love the light, the architecture, the ambience of inevitable entropy: the faded and peeling, green shutters; the flaking stonework, the timeless, silent side-alleys and back-canals. You can find moments of peace even in the summer when obscene, towering cruise ships vomit their contents over St Marks’ Square and suck them back laden with Made in China masks and glassware.

Sadly though, even the most sincere and diligent traveller can’t avoid the feeling he or she is contributing to the death of a noble city.

This caught my eye:

“Venice needs jobs for the middle classes, and if nothing happens, there will be no one left in 2050,” Mr Gasparinetti said.

It seems a tragedy that a city that has drawn artists from Titian to Hemingway can’t attract creative middle-class jobs.

Read Tom Kington’s article, Crumbling Venice plumbs new depths, here.

Image: Andrew Munro