Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dateline Venzia IV: Upadated News Here and Now!

Loyal readers know that Nancy and I were in Venezia when the ban on feeding pigeons went into effect May 1, 2008. I was skeptical. The ban was met with a Pigeon Feed Dealer protest (reported real-time on this blog) and disappointed thousands of small children and Asian tourists, the former who liked to run among the birds scattering them and the latter who liked to pose with Columbia livia perched on their heads. How could the government not cave into pressure that was bound to build?

Well, here's the latest from ANSA, an Italian news service:

The city has also launched a drive to rid St Mark's of the pigeons many people associate with it by banning feed vendors and taking other moves to shoo the birds away, in the face of protests from animal rights groups. Codella said Wednesday the square's pigeon population was down from its historic levels of 20,000 to a bare thousand. ''Just a few months after the feed ban most of the square is free of the animals who have moved off to find food on the islands,'' she said. She said they had ''almost completely disappeared'' from the logge on Palazzo Ducale (the Doge's Palace), once their favourite gathering spot.

It's hard to imagine St. Mark's free of pigeons. But, the real news is that the city hasn't quit at pigeons. St. Mark's was also full of trash (a lot in the form of McDonalds and Burger King leavings, dropped by tourists who sat on the steps and picniced. Aside: can you imagine passing up a panini for a quarter-pounder? Well. here's more from ANSA:

Venice woke up Wednesday to find a pretty corner of St Mark's Square free of food wrappers, litter and the signs of people sleeping rough. The city council, which has launched a 'decorum' drive, took the unusual step of chaining off the Piazzetta dei Leoncini to keep takeaway fans and tramps away. ''For the first time in years one of the most beautiful places in the city isn't full of trash,'' said city decorum pointman Augusto Salvadori. Venice Artistic Superintendent Renata Codello said authorities wanted to ''see the results of shutting off the piazzetta and decide whether less drastic measures might also work''. Venice launched its decorum drive two years ago to fight a modern wave of scruffiness and lax behaviour it said was dragging its image down. Among other things it has employed so-called 'City Angels', a band of young women, to tell tourists to put their shirts back on, stop putting their feet in fountains and have their picnics away from the most popular sites.

A, Venezia, what will be next in your efforts to return to La Sernenissima, ban cruise ships? One can only hope...

1 comment:

griffiskc said...

I love being called a loyal reader. And I appreciate the update!