The Venetian Dilemma
Description: "Venice is sinking," is something we've all heard ad infinitum; but that crisis is not the only one that threatens the survival of this wondrous 1500-year-old place. The city has undergone dramatic changes over the last several decades -- threatening to transform one of the glories of the world into an Italianate Disneyland. The population of Venice once stood at 175,000 today it is merely 65,000. Simultaneously tourism has skyrocketed--with 14 million visitors annually. As Venice's citizenry continues to shrink, the hordes of tourists only grow larger. The visitor to Venice experiences a magical urban landscape, replete with fairy tale bridges, delectable cafes, picturesque piazzas and exquisite Renaissance art, housed in some of the world's most beautiful churches and museums. For the average Venetian, however, life is far from rosy. With the majority of its citizens financially tied to the tourist industry, Venice is a city whose population if nearly bi-polar in their point of view. What is in one's immediate interest may not, in the long-term, be in the interest of one's children and in the larger sense, in the interest of a social order as fragile as this one.
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