Venice is not a place like all others. It is a beauty which was founded as a refuge by the people of Veneto against invading Goths in 421 a.C. She has seen it all from her humblest beginnings to her heydays of the Serenissima. And she is not shy. She reveals her glorious past with confidence, evident in magnificent buildings and works of art created by the most celebrated artists of their days.
Her future by contrast is much more uncertain. The population of historic Venice (without Mestre, the modern part on the mainland) has declined from 150.000 in 1950 to 68.600 in 1997. In 2001 it increase for the first time in 50 years*.
When shopkeepers have done the second commute of the day to get back to their more comfortable homes in Mestre, when darkness falls on empty squares and canals, behind ancient walls the remaining few might wish that Venice would be just a place like all others, a place where people live.
*Venezia E Il Veneto, p.18