Residents are leaving the center in droves. Within a generation, the population has shrunk by almost a third. At the same time, the number of tourists has almost quadrupled in the past 25 years. Almost half of those still living in Venice are over 60, only about 9,000 are under 18. The death rate is about three times the birth rate.
The long-established Venetians are moving away – often with a heavy heart. “If we continue like this, we will become a ghost town like Pompeii,” said Matteo Secchi from the organization “Venessia.com”, which works for the city’s survival. He tirelessly warns of a “Venexodus”. Young people in particular seem to have had enough of paying exorbitant prices for basic groceries, enduring the influx of tourists, not owning a car and, moreover, spending enormous sums on a small apartment.
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro denies that Venice has a future as a museum city. If you take into account the inhabitants of the island, the lagoon counts about 77,000 inhabitants. In addition, there are 25,000 students and 35,000 commuters who spend the day in Venice. According to Mayor Brugnaro, it is about strengthening Venice’s own strength.
With less bureaucracy and taxes and more financial incentives, residents should be lured back to Venice. Families should be supported more, students from the local university could be persuaded to stay in the lagoon city with support measures after the end of their studies. There is still a glimmer of hope, says Brugnaro.