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George Clooney and his wedding in Venice

Di Antonio Caneva, 9 ottobre 2014

I find it rather exhilarating that, with all the afflictions we have in this country, we had to complain about George Clooney’s wedding in Venice.
The front page of Corriere della Sera on 28 September showed a large photo of the motorboat carrying the actor and his friends, with the comment “are we changing into a movie set for the wedding show?”.
An article in the inside pages, titled “Italy reduced to a scenery for Hollywood movie stars’ weddings” essentially made the case that Italy should live on culture, not on the weddings of the world’s various Uncle Scrooges, among which the recent one, in Puglia, of an Indian couple.
Do we live in a perfect world? Then this position would (possibly) be justified; but we do not live in a perfect world, on the contrary, our world is amply imperfect. As is correctly recalled in the above-mentioned article, ours is a unique country in terms of culture and art, but what use do we make of it? We should point out that, while France is firmly first in the world for number of international visitors, we have fallen down from first to fifth position; it is not by chance, however, that the French have an excellent tourist promotion body ( Atout France), whereas the Italian equivalent ( Enit) barely has the money to survive by paying wages to its employees. But, ultimately, they did not do much even when the money was available.
Culture. True, the Corriere della Sera article was written on 28 September, while it was the 2 October when we heard the news that the Opera House of Rome is firing all its artists in order to outsource music and singers, the way a hotel might do in the management of floor personnel.
It is not weddings that should worry us, but other things; if we want to speak of Venice, we can mention the mega cruise ships entering the San Marco Basin, with the ever present risk that they end up as unwanted guests into Palazzo Ducale, or the iniquitous tax that is exacted of tourists, for whom local transport (the water-bus) has a much higher price than for locals.
We complain about the lack of jobs in Italy, but employment can only happen if there are concrete conditions to develop it; in terms of international tourist attraction, George Clooney’s wedding has done a great deal more than many national bodies do. Two important hotels are going to open in Venice, in two small islands of the lagoon; employment and the creation of wealth are dependent on notoriety and visibility in the world.
The mayor complains about people eating sandwiches in San Marco square, newspapers complain about the (pseudo) transformation of the city into a movie set, and in the meantime the country goes to rack and ruin.
Maybe we are barking up the wrong tree.

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