Venice is falling apart at the seams – quite literally in some of its best-known places. Critics say unregulated tourism is destroying Italy’s beautiful and fragile lagoon city.
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VENICE -- The most recent warning sign came Monday, July 25, when the Venice police department announced that the city was officially closed to cars. The reason? There's simply no more room. The bridge leading in to Venice was jam packed. All of the city's parking lots were sold out.
People were instead encouraged to use the train, which is ironic. Just the day before, a train accident in Rome snarled up Italy's entire rail network. In Venice, the delays meant long waits for hundreds of tourists. Adding to the city's woes is that fact that for some strange reason, construction has begun in Piazzale Roma – in the middle of summer of all times.
A troubling and very real feeling is starting to sink in. Venice, by all accounts, is at a breaking point. There's no room to fit any more people. And on an island without escape routes, the overcrowding is dangerous.
Who is to blame? With no planning or foresight, the city has greedily tried to squeeze in as many tourists as possible. That, in turn, has caused tensions with locals, who can no longer stand the waves of visitors who invade the tiny streets and squares, making it almost impossible to walk.
The island seems to be falling apart physically as well. Last weekend, a chunk of the venerable old Rialto Bridge came loose, crashing on to the busy pathway below, where it left a large crater. Fortunately no one was hurt. The city might not be so lucky next time, especially now that the car ban is putting even more pedestrians onto Venice's already overcrowded sidewalks.
Read the full article in Italian by Anna Sandri
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