A Continual Subtraction

Photo credit: Jutta Krenzer, 2016, No Grandi Navi

This excerpt from the Introduction of Dream of Venice in Black and White was written by Tiziano Scarpa.

“A consequence of the excess of tourists is the giant cruise ships, a topic widely debated in the media the world over. To understand where the problem lies it is necessary to understand that Venice does not stand on just any old sea but on something very different—a lagoon, which is a delicate environment. As you can gather from the photos in this book with their depictions of lagoon landscapes, a few kilometers from Venice there are half-wild places, shallow waters containing myriad species of plants and animals. The lagoon is the largest wetland in the Mediterranean; it is an essential resting place for numerous migratory birds. Unusual habits and special interactions between humans and the landscape are distinctive to this body of water.

The big cruise ships that transport thousands of passengers are accused of devastating the lagoon bed, of wounding the palaces that have to endure their vibrations, and of heavily polluting the air with tons of miniscule particles that belch from their funnels. Those who defend them say that they provide work for thousands of people. But they contribute to wearing down and destroying Venice—a continual subtraction, and not simply the tourist-inhabitants of the present but those of the future. The movement of citizens who oppose the entrance of the big ships into the city is very active. But there are too few Venetians.”