By Alberto Vitucci
VENEZIA. “This is not working”. The Prefect Carlo Boffi has just participated in the inauguration of the San Marco mosaics. A long meeting for two, with the Patriarch Moraglia at the door of the Basilica has ended. He responds dryly to the question as to whether the first Saturday of Carnevale passed without problems. “We can say that around the area of control all went well”, he declares, “this, yes. But there were problems elsewhere”.
The first general test failed, therefore. The controls in place to limit the flow of people in rio di Cannaregio and in the surrounding areas paralyzed half of Cannaregio. Barriers and crowds of people in Lista di Spagna, at Anconeta and in the Ghetto. Situations of real danger. Veneziani who were not even able to make it to their homes. Hotel guests were blocked, much the same as students who live in the city but who could not show an identity card, and Security stopped them. Controlling the flow of people once the visitors had already arrived in the city provoked difficulties and repercussions. Even if the City says it has “warned everyone for some time”.
Signor Prefect, perhaps the problem needs to be addressed higher up.
“We don’t have laws that allow us to stop people and prevent them from entering the city”.
But if we put signals inside the city it will block everyone.
“Exactly. This is the problem, and we are looking for a way to deal with it in these hours. We look forward to the meeting Wednesday of the Committee for Order and Public Security. Controlling the flow of people inside the city is complicated, the calle are narrow”.
Sunday is the Volo dell’Angelo, the first real Sunday of Carnevale.
“The City has accepted our proposal to move the event one hour earlier, at 11 and no longer at noon. We seek to discourage, that is the right word. That is to say we want to reduce the number of day visitors who come from medium distances and arrive by train or car. At the beginning the City offered some resistance, as the tradition speaks of the flight of the Volo dell’Angelo as always at the same hour, at midday. Then they understood”.
How many people will be admitted in the Piazza on Sunday?
“The Fire Department is working on the final estimate. But I believe that the number cannot be much higher than 20,000. Therefore a capacity that is much lower than last year”.
What can we expect?
“We are seeking to keep people well informed, and we need to control the flow of people well. Everyone wants to come to Venice, but they must understand that they cannot all come here together, that they can come in quieter times of the year if they want to enjoy the city. It is important that there is an understanding that Venice, a wonderful city, the most beautiful in the world, can be visited many other days and not only on the occasion of these grand events”.
It’s certain that if guests are invited with a rich program and shows in the heart of the old city, people will arrive en masse.
“People want to come to Venice, certainly. But perhaps it is time to rethink some things. I repeat, the capacity of Piazza San Marco, for reasons of security, will be much reduced this year, very far from the tens of thousands of people who arrived last year. Perhaps the shows in the Piazza don’t make sense anymore and need to be rethought”.
Are there other provisions in preparation for Sunday?
“The decisions that will be made are related to controlling of the accesses and the quota of tourists who will be able to be present in Piazza San Marco at the same time”.
Will the expenses once again be borne by the residents?
“We will speak about that at the meeting of the Committee for Security on Wednesday”.
Source: La Nuova Venezia, 30 January 2018