29 October 2009

Vocabulary In the News: Venice’s Declining Population

A group of Venetians in Italy’s canal city is planning on holding a “funeral” to mourn Venice’s declining population which they say is draining the city of its normal life. The organizers of the upcoming funeral will carry a a casket symbolizing the death of Venice in a procession down the Grand Canal in three boats. Mario Secchi, who was born in Venice where his dad and granddad were Venetians, was forced to emigrate to the mainland because rents were too high in the historic center. Mr. Secchi says the city is under attack by the rich who are using Venice like a stock exchange by buying empty houses and selling them 5 years later at a higher price.

In 1960 the population stood at more than 145,000 and now it has dropped to an all-time low, dipping below the 60,000 mark. They are concerned because the population is getting older, the buildings are in a state of degradation, and more and more shops are opening just for tourists. The traditions and crafts of Venice are quickly disappearing. Secchi and his friends are responsible for placing a population counter in the window of a pharmacy in order raise public awareness to the real decline of Venice’s population. The more pessimistic say that by 2030 Venice will be emptied of her residents and today’s 18 million visitors risks doubling in 20 years.

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