Venice continues its transformation from a living city to an open-air museum. The Venetian population is expected to fall below 50,000, according to The Guardian . This is the information of the electronic counter in the window of the Morelli Pharmacy, which since 2008 has recorded the population of Venice.
“Today the number is 50,011, last week it was 50,022, and in the next few days it will probably drop below 50,000,” says pharmacy owner Andrea Morelli. “Falling is very demoralizing. I remember Venice as a child, when locals were in charge of the city. Then you could walk around Piazza San Marco and meet friends. Now everything is different.”
"We've been warning about this for years... We don't want to give up, but no administration has been able to reverse this trend," said Matteo Secchi, leader of Venessia.com, an organization dedicated to preserving local heritage. According to Secchi, the remaining Venetians are "suffocated" by the tourism around which the city's economy revolves. On the one hand, it gives money, on the other hand, it robs the citizens of space for life.
According to statistics, Venice has lost 120,000 inhabitants since the early 1950s. The reasons for leaving are different, but mass tourism still remains the main one: the city has a very high cost of living, a shortage of affordable housing, souvenir shops instead of shops with essentials, a significant part of the property belongs to people who rent it out, while they themselves live and spend money elsewhere.
Cityscape Venice is more optimistic. This year, the authorities announced the attraction of migrant workers to the city. The number of foreign students is growing, in their opinion. There are many people in Venice who come here daily to work from nearby Mestre. Finally, those who live in the city most of the year without registering may be absent from the civil status register. However, Matteo Secchi does not seem convincing. “We are dying out, soon we will be like relics in a museum,” he predicts.