Mick Jagger and Tilda Swinton join calls for new law to protect Venice | Italy
A host of famous names, including Mick Jagger and Tilda Swinton, backed a call urging the Italian government to introduce special law to protect Venice.
Tourists have started to return to the city since Italy eased coronavirus travel restrictions in mid-May. But locals and those with close ties to the city don’t want it to return to its pre-pandemic plight when it was overwhelmed by day trippers and giant cruise ships that wreaked havoc on its fragile lagoon. .
An open letter produced by the Venetian Heritage Foundation and signed by 21 personalities from the world of art and culture was sent to the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, and the Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, as well as to regional and local leaders . , calling for urgent action.
“This is not a collection of signatures just to name, it is a collection of signatures from people who come to Venice often and whom we know firsthand,” said Toto Bergamo Rossi, president of the Venetian Heritage Foundation.
The call was triggered after learning that the first post-containment cruise ship, the MSC Orchestra, would pass St Mark’s Square on Saturday, despite a government announcement in late March banning cruise ships from the historic center.
Bergamo Rossi said news of the cruise ship’s return brought back chilling memories of June 2, 2019 when a 13-deck ship operated by the same company crashed into a quay and a tourist boat along the canal very busy from the Giudecca, injuring four people. “When we heard about this we couldn’t believe it, and therefore to think that it is enough is enough,” said Bergamo Rossi.
The letter, written with the help of experts, lists 10 points deemed essential for the survival of Venice that should be enshrined in law. They include the completion of work on the long delayed Mose flood barrier project. The 78 movable barriers have been the subject of several successful trials last year. Other points include banning cruise ships from the lagoon and protecting its ecosystem; limit tourist visits and better manage flows; introduce rules governing the rental of short-term vacation homes; and preserve the decorum of the city.
Other signatories to the letter include directors Francis Ford Coppola and James Ivory; artist Anish Kapoor; Gary Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and Karole Vail, director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.
Bergamo Rossi, who was born in Venice, said previous commitments to take action to protect and improve the city had come nowhere. “It’s always the same, like a game of ping-pong. Looking back to 2019, Venice was impossible – you couldn’t walk around the city anymore because of the crowds, there were even fewer locals and good quality shops, and no room controls hosts. We cannot come back to this.
Venice, which received around 28 million visitors a year before the pandemic, has started to be busy again in the past two weeks.
“Toto has done a great thing with the writing of this letter and I am very happy that many VIPs are on board, especially since ordinary citizens listen to people like Mick Jagger,” said Matteo Secchi, leader of Venessia.com, an activist group that for years has fought to preserve the heritage of Venice. “But – and it’s a little but – I hope they don’t stop at a letter.” If they really love Venice, we ask them to do more to protect it. “
Secchi criticized the media coverage of the announcement of the ban on cruise ships, which would have been redirected to the industrial port of Marghera. “It was just an announcement, nothing concrete. They’ve been saying it for years, but so far no one has taken action and made the law.