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The Venice Syndrome


Andreas Pichler

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About the Movie

Venice is pure romance; that which all Europeans yearn for, the dream of all Americans, the wish of all Japanese. But the world’s most beautiful city turns into a ghost town at nightfall. Entire quarters, long since abandoned by their inhabitants, stand empty, their structures merely providing a myth to serve business interests. Twenty million foreigners visited the city last year. That’s an average of 60,000 per day. And this year it will be more still. By comparison, there are only 58,000 inhabitants, the same amount as they were after the Great Plague of 1438. And next year it will be fewer still.

Customer Reviews

A fascinating portrait of a changing city

Often when we visit a famous city, we pay little heed to the people who live there. As a citizen of Venice says, the people are little more than extras that provide flavour in between your stops to the famous landmarks in the city. In The Venice Syndrome, we get a portrait of the people who try to live in a town with a dwindling population, diminishing public services, and crumbling infrastructure.

While there are many stark examples of the difficulties that the citizens of Venice have trying to maintain their lives and the tourists that descend upon the city daily, perhaps the most striking example is when one of the subjects of the film visits the famous Rialto market. What would be a normal day shopping for groceries turns into an enormous chore as tourists constantly take photographs of fishmongers handling their goods. The indignity is punctuated by the fact that the city council plans to change the way produce and food is delivered to the island, potentially driving the Rialto market away entirely.

Of course, the image that serves as the cover of this film paints a picture as well. Imagine gigantic cruise ships sailing past your window daily, not only blocking your once gorgeous view of the ocean, but causing constant noise and vibrations in your home. It's no wonder that a lot of residents are bitter about what is happening to their home.

There are no easy answers here, and the conclusion that the film ends with is that by 2030, there might not be any actual residents of Venice any more. As the youth move to other cities in order to find better opportunities and the elderly pass on, this seems like a sad inevitability. The citizens of Venice can do no more than to simply stand by as their city is turned into an Italian theme park.

Venice from a Local Perspective

Everyone going to Venice should see this. Its also a cautionary tale that shows what happens when local governments are ruled by the dollar instead of realizing what a diamond they have in their own backyard. Eventually the dream will crumble due to instant gratification and lack of real care.

The Venice Syndrome
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Customer Ratings