After Covid-19, deserted Venice struggles to survive

Sallie Anderson

“Venice has suffered since 2019. First, the devastating floods in November, then the disappearance of tourists due to the coronavirus… I don’t know what will happen to this city in the coming months,” states Laura Sánchez.

She is from Peru, and runs a historical kiosk simply a brief walk from Venice train station.

  • ‘Venice has actually suffered because2019 The disastrous floods in November, then the disappearance of travelers due to the coronavirus … I do not understand what will take place to this city in the coming months,’ states Laura Sánchez (Picture: Gabriele Catania).

Generally the station is buzzing, and full of commuters and travelers, mainly trainees and civil servants.

Nowadays it is nearlydeserted Commuters are couple of, and travelers have actually just vanished. Not a single German backpacker or Japanese couple. It had actually never ever occurred prior to.

“It’s a tragedy. Without tourists Venice is like a sea without fishes,” states Andrea, a commuter awaiting his train.

Without the crowds of travelers, Venice does not even look likeVenice Immersed in an odd silence, it has the nearly unbelievable and unfortunate beauty of adream


Strolling through its almost-empty streets one would anticipate to stumble upon the 16 th century painter Tintoretto, or John Ruskin remembering.

Rather, there are just a few citizens and some pigeons. Even the seagulls are less aggressive than normal.

All the Venetians spoken with by EUobserver are worried. Some are desperate.

Covid-19 stopped the arrival of travelers 3 months earlier and without travelers, Venice dangers financial collapse. It is doomed to stop like a car that ran out of gas: 65 percent of the population of the city operates in tourist.

The economy of the historical city is generally comprised of hotels, bars, dining establishments, sophisticated stores, keepsake kiosks, B&B, art galleries, and thelike


Alberto Zen, 32, arranges prominent cultural and musical occasions inVenice Due to the Covid-19 crisis, he had to cancel all the occasions he had actually prepared, at the cost of his earnings.

Tourist paradox

“This situation is a terrible paradox. For years none of us could stand the over-tourism, the city’s streets and squares clogged with visitors, and now we don’t even have one tourist”

Just 3 months ago the argument was on how to turn mass tourist into quality tourist, restricting the arrivals of so-called ‘mordi-e-fuggi’ (hit-and-run) visitors, and motivating those prepared to remain in the city’s hotels for a minimum of a number of nights.

Now the city has no more travelers of any kind: no abundant Arabs or Chinese, no groups of Germans, no young, lonesome visitors from Israel or Australia. “It almost feels like divine retribution,” includes Zen.”Venice’s economy had become way too focused on tourism, it was no longer sustainable”


Brigitte is from Toulouse, however has actually resided in Venice for many years.

“I’m an art enthusiast, and I chose to live here for this very reason,” she states in the semi-empty St Mark’s square, where there are more police officers than passers-by.”I usually work in tourism, so I’m not working at the moment. Though I always try to be optimistic, I’m worried. I’ve never seen Venice so empty before, it’s very sad”


Without travelers, hotels, dining establishments and stores even battle to pay the lease, which can be really high in Venice, typically over EUR10,000 each month. Lots of organisations run the risk of personal bankruptcy.

“Thanks to tourism, Venice has always been lucky, even when the rest of the region was experiencing difficult times,” states Elio Dazzo, chairman of AEPE, the effective association of bars and dining establishments inVenice


“But because of the Covid-19 emergency it found itself to be very fragile. Over the years, it has also lost many residents. Those left are mainly elderly people, not very keen on spending”

Less than 70,000 people reside in the historical part of Venice today.

Lots of have actually moved, leaving their city to travelers: leas are too expensive, transportations and streets are constantly exceedingly crowded, and well-paid tasks are couple of.

“I live in Giudecca, a neighbourhood where there are still residents. But locals have completely disappeared from the central areas of the city,” describes Alessandro Dus,35


He is a left-wing activist at ASC, a cumulative for the right to real estate. Nearly all your homes in Venice are leased to travelers.

“It is almost impossible to live in Venice for a young person; you must have a very high income. Many young people leave. Those who stay make enormous sacrifices to live in small shared flats”

Schools and universities are plentiful in Venice, where education is among the really couple of vibrant financial sectors after tourist. Life is really hard for trainees too. Ruggero Tallon, 25, belongs to the student association LiSC.

“The real estate market is crazy here. Rents are sky-high for places that are often in poor shape,” he states. “The coronavirus has exposed the problems and contradictions of an economic model focused on tourism.”


Venice needs to diversify itseconomy


Business owners, trainees, and political leaders state so. “Venice dies without tourists but also with too many tourists. It is necessary to find a balance”, states from Rome Pier Paolo Baretta, undersecretary of the ministry of economy, and the centre-left prospect in Venice next local elections.

“But above all we must develop an economy not tied to tourism. By relaunching craftsmanship for example, the glass tradition and the publishing industry: sectors that are consistent with the local identity”

Luana Zanella, the leader of the Veneto area’s Green Party, proposes (and Baretta concurs) that Venice end up being the seat of a European firm for keeping an eye on environment modification.

“Venice is beautiful and highly prestigious, but also fragile. It is the symbolic city of the slow-motion epidemic of climate change”

According to Paola Mar, councillor for tourist of the town of Venice, the city will be able to return on its feet.

“Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It will recover as soon as it is possible to travel again, within Italy and Europe. After all, Venice is used to being resilient. This city always rises from its ashes, like the phoenix”


On Wednesday (3 June) Italy resumed its borders after nearly 3 months of lockdown.

In the meantime, just travelers from the European Union, the Schengen location, the UK, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino can get in the nation.

Venice is looking forward to global arrivals to resume.

However this first resuming is currently a significant expect the city: European visitors as a whole are the most many in regards to arrivals and over night remain in the city’s lodgings, followed by the countries of North and South America, and Asia.

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