"Funeral" to be held for Venice
Venice could be a “ghost city” within 40 years if its population continues to decline at the current rate.
The city, once the most prosperous in Europe, is in demographic crisis. Its population, estimated at 145,000 in 1960, dropped to under 60,000 at the end of October and the number of citizens on the electoral roll has been decreasing by 800 per year. 25% of residents are over 64, compared with an Italian average of 19%. 46% are minors compared with an Italian average of 18.6%.
But it is the population decline which is most worrying: with tourists flocking to the city at a rate of 55,000 per day, residents feel marginalised.
Add to this the problems of soaring rents and house prices, plus rising water levels, and one begins to understand that life is not easy for Venetians. Although people from other parts of Italy and foreigners continue to purchase second homes in the Serenissima, many ordinary residents cannot afford a first home. They feel forced to leave and many traditional crafts are disappearing with them.
Now a group of Venetian citizens have become so concerned that they are planning to hold a “funeral” for the city on November 14th: a coffin representing the city will travel along the Grand Canal, then it will be carried ashore and left outside the Town Hall. One of the organisers is Matteo Secchi, who, along with other worried citizens, has also had a population counter placed in the window of a city centre pharmacy. The pharmacy’s owner, dott. Andrea Morelli, says he agreed to have the counter installed out of love for his native city.
Do you think the decline of Venice is inevitable?