In less than 30 years, Venice turned from “normal city” to “tourist magnet”: Our book Venezia. 1989-2021 collects answers and ideas from Venetian residents, environmental scientists, business and tourist experts on how to reverse-engineer the city and Lagoon.

This is the introductory chapter of Venezia. 1989 – 2021, a book written by La Venessiana Team, available in our online shop from 01 November 2020.

Please note that in the book and in this preview, you will see a Venice we usually don’t show: A Venice you may not have seen before, the city hurt and besieged. But we think that you will love the images we use in the final paragraph .. This is to share the surprising visual and energizing transformation Venice went through in less than eight months.

Dawning of a new decade: 01 January 2020

After the purple-cinnober red sunset of 31 December, the first sun rays on 1 January 2020 painted the skies above Venice dark cobalt blue.

Everyone in Venice was happy that the challenging 2019 was finally over: A nervous and crowded summer none of us had ever witnessed before was followed by a flood of unexpected dimensions.

The November floods hit Venice badly, and thus, in the late evening of 22 December, an test run of the mobile flood gates at the Lagoon inlets was made, with engineers present at the control room. The test was interrupted in the last minute, and the gates didn’t rise fully.

On 23 and 24 December, Venetians woke up to the sounds of sirens and a flooded city, once again.

It was those floods of November 2019 that sparked the discussion of whether the Lagoon would eventually turn into a bay of the sea, or if it would remain a Lagoon. Venice, the surprisingly resilient city built on 118 islands can only survive in a sound environment called “Lagoon”. But in late 2019, was a future still possible?

And then, on New Year’s Day, people in my neighborhood were asking themselves if this city was ready for yet another “ordinary” tourist season. What would become of Venice if this alienating form of mass tourism was going on in the decade ahead, or perhaps became worse?

We’ve all seen the challenges ahead, and we did have an uncanny feeling in summer. It started when a cruise ship crashed into the port embankment in June 2019, while the city was hopelessly besieged by tourists.

And now, I’ll give you an idea of what that summer of 2019 looked like from our perspective.

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