Venice – From Sinking To Shrinking

Paul Chong            Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Canals of Venice

That glorious unique exotic paradise with its romantic canals & gondolas, bridges & some of the most exquisite buildings still draws a tourist crowd of some 55,000 visitors per day, that is a staggering 20,000,000 in a year. However, the magic stops there & does not prevent an exodus of its inhabitants.

Gondolas in a Row

There was a time when Venetians were worried about their city sinking & eventually be lost to the surrounding water. Only this time, the threat is not from the rising tides & the subsiding foundations of the island city. The fear of sinking is now switched to shrinking with its population migrating rapidly to the mainland. This is Italian “arrivederci”!

Plazza San Marco

Venice population was 175,000 in 1961 but it has been falling to its present 59,992. This is worrying the City’s administrators as well as the loyal citizens that still remain. Venice though visited & renowned as tourist paradise is not lived in!

One of the Many Bridges

Contrary to popular belief, a popular city that attracts a relentless influx of tourists has generated rising costs in property, food & transport driving out its city’s inhabitants from their ancestral homes. Prices have soared and found to be higher than those in the mainland, so naturally the local Venetians are forced out of this historical city.

Rialto Bridge

A city without vitality or enough lived-in inhabitants could only mean its demise. With a population in decline, something must be done to prevent it from becoming a modern Pompei. This is indeed a far cry from way back in 1960 when we visited the vibrant city. Ladies were then being warned about the Venetians pinching their bottoms! I remember well the great Plazza San Marco (San Marco Square) with its teeming pigeons & Basillica, romantic bridges & canals, gondola rides on the Grand Canal, and endless delightful walking tours among the thousands of tourists.

How do you save a city in decline?


5 thoughts on “Venice – From Sinking To Shrinking

  1. martin chung

    It is sad that Venice is sinking and it is smelly too. It is beautiful on the other side of Venice where the shores are less populated. Hope they can prevent the sink… get a Chinese engineer again to do the job. Just like the Leaning Tower, being stabilized by a Chinese engineer.

  2. Susie Tan

    I didn’t rec. this ” Venice” message/forward….BTW…it’s too strainous 4 my poor eyes…the prints can b in bigger font,pl.TQ.

  3. Susie Tan

    Heard n read re Venice…gondolas n all…..romantic place….saw the Korean series ” Boys Over Flowers” – they have a ” Venice” in Macau???

    Ya, Annie lets go to Venice b4 it disappears/sinks!
    Ya, nice pictures…like the bridges ..reminds me of London n Paris cruises! July 2004…like so long agoooooooooo.

    1. London/Paris was in 2004 – gosh blink of an eye and it’s already 5 years ago…time flies! So is it time for a re-visit with Venice on the agenda… Be warned about the smell/stench – would need to hold your breath!!!

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