Donna Leon’s portrait of Venice has telling similarities to our view about what Central London has become
In yesterday’s The Times, author Donna Leon was interviewed about her latest novel, By Its Cover. Born in America, but a longtime resident of Venice, Leon made telling remarks about what the city where she lives has become:
“Venice, she says, is ‘the most concentrated essence of a man-made beauty in Europe’, but the portrait she paints of the city has tarnished noticeably over the decades. ‘When I first moved to Venice it was a quiet little provincial city with factories and offices where people worked. There was life in the streets, there were stores where people sold buttons and shoelaces. Now it’s Disneyworld, with 30 million tourists a year and just 58,000 residents’”.
“Living in Venice is absolutely unsustainable and all the city cares about is the money, money, money of the tourists. It’s terrible. Imagine how the residents feel, to be hounded out of their houses, to see any large apartment turned into a bed and breakfast and to see the profound corruption of everything in the city”.
Just like London, this beautiful city has been ruined by an influx of money. We should take stock and save what makes these respective locations attractive. We need more butchers, bakers and candlestick makers and less Bulgari hotels and Stella McCartney stores.
Subscribe to our free once daily email newsletter here: