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The rise and fall and rise of Venice


The curse of international tourism
John Julius Norwich Writer
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To me, Venice is such a miracle. I can't bear to see what's happening now, because it's being totally killed by international tourism. Thank God they've now made a law banning these huge ships, these vast, 17-deck, 5,000-passenger leviathans, but... they passed a law last week stopping them, but it'll be a good five or six years before they've got the alternative ready, so it's going to go on for some time. And, you know, the last time I was in Venice, which was last February, I don't... I was there for three days; I don't remember seeing a Venetian. There were only tourists, you know. And the Venetians are leaving. They can't bear it any more. I mean, they can't get onto a bus, you know. Life is impossible for them.

John Julius Norwich (1929-2018) was an English popular historian, travel writer and television personality. He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, at Eton, at the University of Strasbourg and on the lower deck of the Royal Navy before taking a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. He then spent twelve years in H.M. Foreign Service, with posts at the Embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. In 1964 he resigned to become a writer. He is the author of histories of Norman Sicily, the Republic of Venice, the Byzantine Empire and, most recently, 'The Popes: A History'. He also wrote on architecture, music and the history plays of Shakespeare, and presented some thirty historical documentaries on BBC Television.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Venice

Duration: 57 seconds

Date story recorded: 2017

Date story went live: 03 October 2018