Saturday, 17 December 2016

If Venice Dies

Finished December 12
If Venice Dies by Salvatore Settis. translated by Andre Naffis -Sahely

Settis is an Italian art historian, and this book looks at not only the unique city that Venice is, but also at the nature of cities, their worth, and their future. With the rise of theme attractions based on cities does the original city lose its worth? Does it become an open air museum only populated by tourists who don't immerse themselves in true city life. Do cities like Venice become too expensive for ordinary people to live, priced out by those looking for trendy second home and by hotels. Is the city more than the sum of its parts. Does it have a soul.
Does the growing globalization of the world mean that cities become more and more like each other and lose their unique nature made up of their history, architecture, art, and culture. What are the responsibilities of governments at all levels to keep this from happening.
Settis is passionate about Venice in particular, and about retaining the culture each city has in general. He shows us how Venice has lost its citizens, now having only one resident for every 140 visitors. He talks about the power of money over culture and how and why we need to stand up for what is being lost, not only in Venice, but elsewhere.
An interesting read, sometimes becoming an academic lecture, but full of passion and knowledge.

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