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TOPIC: venice

In The News

Aung San Suu Kyi Partial Pardon, Moscow Building Hit Twice, Endangered Venice

👋 Allo!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Myanmar’s junta reduces former leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s jail time, a skyscraper in Moscow is hit by a drone attack for the second time in as many days, and UNESCO suggests adding Venice to the list of World Heritage sites in danger. Meanwhile, in Italian daily La Stampa, Franco Giubilei looks at how Italy’s nightclubs and discos have been slowly but surely replaced by “nomadic” parties on the beach and in villas.

[*Seychellois Creole]

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Erdogan Reelected, Kyiv Under Fresh Attacks, Bright Green Venice

👋 Guuten takh!*

Welcome to Monday, where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gets reelected for an unprecedented third term, explosions rock Kyiv after two nights of sustained drone attacks, and Venice waters turn a mysterious fluorescent green. Meanwhile, for Worldcrunch, Ukrainian journalist Anna Akage wonders whether the recent incursion in Russia’s Belgorod border region could be a turning point in the conflict.

[*Cimbrian, northeastern Italy]

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Tourists Are About To Literally Take Over Venice

A special counter installed in Venice shows that places to sleep for visitors will literally outnumber those for locals in Venice for the first time in the coming weeks or months. Housing activists hope it will finally be a wake up call for the city.

VENICE — Tourists in Venice have always seemed to be everywhere. But now, for the first time, locals are about to be reduced to minority status.

The stunning fact for the iconic lagoon city is confirmed by a special "tourist bed counter" installed in the windows of a secondhand bookstore, MarcoPolo. As of this week, there are 48,596 beds for tourists versus 49,365 residents. At this rate, the ratio of one tourist per one resident may be just weeks away. And from there, unless something changes, tourists will eventually leave Venetians as mere extras in their own city.

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Portofino, Avanti! Italian Village Sets "No Stopping" Zones To Keep Tourist Crowds Moving

For safety reasons, the mayor of an Italian village struggling with overtourism has banned tourists stopping in certain areas. It is not the only Italian travel hot spot trying new ideas to counter the effects of mass tourism.

PORTOFINO — In Portofino, one of Italy's best known and most visited villages, two “red zones” have been established to limit the pedestrian traffic formed by tourists. These are areas where people can walk freely, sit in a restaurant or go shopping, but where visitors cannot stop for safety reasons, as the human density has become too high.

“Portofino belongs to everyone, but it is a jewel to be respected,” explains Mayor Matteo Viacava, who signed a measure that went into effect on Easter Sunday. The small village of just 400 residents welcomed 7,000 tourists during the Easter holidays — a much higher number than was recorded in 2019.

The restrictions are in effect from 10:30am to 6pm and will last at least until next Oct. 15. Penalties for those who stop range from €65 to €275.

The small roads and piazzas in the village have limited space, which is exacerbated by the many outdoor tables of cafes and restaurants. Here, large numbers of people listen to their tour guide, wait for a boat to pick them up, or stop to take pictures.

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In The News
Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

All Eyes On Zaporizhzhia, 21 Killed In Kabul Mosque Blast, Surfin’ Venice

👋 Molo!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Guterres and Erdogan meet with Zelensky to address the situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, a blast at a Kabul mosque kills at least, and surf’s up in Venice, much to the mayor’s chagrin. Meanwhile, Clarín visits an old friend: that botched restoration of a Christ mural, still a tourist hit 10 years on.

[*Xhosa, South Africa]

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food / travel
Niccolò Zancan

In Venice, Winemaking Monks vs. Hotel Developers

Locals are pushing back against plans to build a five-star hotel that would throw grape-killing shade on the famed Italian city's last 'real' neighborhood.

VENICE — The wine is called Harmonia Mundi, a rather grandiose name for a table red. It's made from refosco grapes that soak up the sun near the waterfront of the Fondamente Nuove canal, in the Castello district, the last truly Venetian neighborhood of Venice. There's no other vineyard like this for miles around, and the vintners themselves are brothers — of the religious variety.

Just across the way for where the monks reside is a space that contains the skeletal remains of two gas holders, relics of Italy's industrial past. But that could soon change. If developers get their way, it will soon be the site of a five-star hotel — Venice's umpteenth, and a large one at that: tall, stacked in rows, with 10 floors, 286 rooms and 572 beds.

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food / travel
Fabio Poletti

''Anti-Tourist' Turnstiles Under Fire In Venice

VENICE — Venice and its 80,000 regular inhabitants are drowning in tourists. Some 30 million flock to its famous canals every year, stressing the infrastructure. Fed up, the lagoon city's businessman-turned-mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, has a simple but controversial plan to stem the tide: turnstiles.

City authorities recently set up turnstiles on four bridges that connect the city to the mainland, restricting access to tourists. All four access points will be manned by traffic police that can deviate traffic if the flow of visitors gets too busy.

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food / travel
Lorenzo Padovan

Venice For Sale? Historic Buildings Flipped Into Airbnbs

As even the Catholic Church sells off its jewels to hungry hotel developers, the few remaining real Venetians wonder if their city is finally slipping away for good.

VENICE — Everyone seems to agree on city plans to sell some of Venice's historic palaces to private investors: the local government, the post office, the Italian army — even the Catholic Church. All of them are drawn to the idea of turning these historic buildings into resorts and hotels, transforming Venice once and for all into a tourism-only city of hotels and Airbnbs. Already emptied of residents and overflowing with visitors, the city would become home to an unending string of hotels and apartments for rent.

The latest sale announced was an old hospital on the island of Lido, sold to Club Med, which will convert it into a luxury resort that will transform the entire island. The Italian army recently sold a former barracks for the military's only amphibious assault unit, and the new owners will build a 5-star hotel in its place.

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food / travel
Irene Helmes

Tourist Hell Is My Hometown, Living In A Vacation Destination

PALMA — You live in one of those special places where people travel from all around the world to visit. A dream? More like a neverending tourist hell, says Venice resident Elisa Crepaldi. "Some of the most beautiful areas in the city are no longer accessible to locals. We have to renounce living in some neighborhoods of our own city."

A local activist named Pere Perelló, from the Spanish island resort of Palma de Mallorca, is counting his problems: "Gentrifcation, expulsion of people from their neighbourhoods, shutting down of local stores — and more." As global tourism grows, so does the weight on locals who live in vacation destinations.

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food / travel
Maurizio Assalto

The First Ghetto, Lost Beauty In Venice's Jewish Quarter

A visit on the eve of the 500th anniversary of the neighborhood where Jews were forced to live, giving the world the culture, confinement and indignity of the ghetto.

VENICE — In the doorways of the cobblestonestreets and alleyways of Venice's Jewish quarter, you can still spot a long, rectangular crevice where the sacred mezuzahused to be. When entering a home, visitors would touch the covered parchment inscribed with Hebrew verses from the Torah, then put their fingers to their lips in a sign of respect for the Jewish faith.

These days, however, there is no mezuzah left, just the hollow slit as a reminder for attentive passersby of what used to be.

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Federico Taddia

Murano, Where Ancient Venetian Glasswork Wonders Take Shape

The Seguso family's passion for glasswork burns brightly, even after 23 generations dedicated to the same painstaking but breathtaking craft.

VENICE — Giampaolo Seguso, 73, is equally adept at playing with words as he is with the sand he uses to blow glass. "Working in the furnace, I understood the morals of life," says the current chief of the Seguso family furnace. "In glassblowing you are both creative and a creator, and this helps you understand the more profound sense of being a living creature."

Seguso the material never ceases to surprise. "What you'll have in your hands will always go beyond what you expected to make," he says. "Glass is wonder and fragility ... of existence itself."

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