Sunday, 15 November 2009

Death in Venice

I heard an item on the Today programme ?yesterday about how the native population of Venice is shrinking because of tourism. I had already made this point in my review of two Venice books in the Guardian here:

John Humphries said that people came to Venice for the cultural experience. Donna Leon said crisply that they came to Venice to shop! (and that most of what they bought was made in China). What she and other Venice residents wanted was not to have to walk further all the time to buy food.

Francesco (Venice is like a woooman) da Mosto made an incomprehensible point about Venice needing to get a divorce from the land.

I remember when we rented a wonderful flat in Caneregio that there was a lovely deli, a bit like this, in the nearby market. I hope it's still there.

There have been so many books set in Venice. My own City of Masks, Michelle Lovric's The Undrowned Child, Cornelia Funke's The Thief Lord .. If you want to see a full list, use Jeff Cotton's wonderful site:

I've read only one Donna Leon and didn't care for it but I liked the way she came across on Today. She has lived there for 20 years and should be able to buy her cheese locally.


Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Quite fascinating, Mary. Did The Today program mention there was an actual mock funeral held in Venice today? I only know about it because Michelle Lovric mentioned it this last week when we were at Anne Rooney's talk on research for a story set in Venice. Apparently the local residents vowed that when the population figures fell below the 60 000 level they would hold the funeral to mourn this and to highlight the fact that they were no longer living in a real city but a city for tourists. 60 000 people constitutes a village they said and not a city. According to a report I saw by the BBC today a US technological Institute is going to do 5 000 DNA swabs to discover where Venetian families originally came from.

Jeff Cotton said...

The mock funeral ended on a hopeful (and tearfully dramatic) note, it seems.

And thanks for the plug!

Mary Hoffman said...

I believe Michelle is writing a piece for ABBA on the funeral, Dianne.

And you're welcome, Jeff!

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