Easter Day was full of sun and packed calli. There were closed parking lots , traffic jams, and canal diving at night
By Vera Mantengoli, 21 April 2019
VENEZIA. On Easter Day Venice withstood an assault of almost 100 thousand people. This is the estimate given by local police commander Marco Agostini: “We closed the parking lots, from the San Marco garage to the ones at Tronchetto and redirected traffic to Mestre”.
By late afternoon the tally was a peaceful, but very crowded day. It was a full house on the shores as well.
At Rialto people were diving, at San Marco there was no public space for a rest, at Riva degli Schiavoni the ferry traffic was congested, and Canal Grande was increasingly similar to a highway.
Once again this year the fragility of the city has been sorely tested by a sea of visitors, creating days of bollino nero, with many Venetians leaving the island, but many more tourists who have instead arrived.
Public transportation has been expanded: ACTV has organized 70 additional water trips and 25 by bus.
“As much as the entry fee is a commendable initiative”, affirms Claudio Vernier of the Associazione Piazza San Marco “Unless and until a system of reservations and a fixed number of visitors it will be difficult for the situation to change”.
People arriving in Piazza San Marco have no signs as to where the restrooms are, where you can find a place to rest or an alternate route. What’s more, with the temporary closure of the Giardinetti Reali, where tourists who needed to take a break or those with a bag lunch would go, means that for now people who are in need of a moment’s rest sit along Riva degli Schiavoni.
Here, from the height of the Caserma Cornoldi one can see a genuine gridlock of people and ferries that come and go. There are four docks available for the granturismo boats that load and unload thousands of tourists each day. The problem is that the motors remain running during these operations and, other than clogging up the Bacino with traffic, they also force us to breath a great deal of smog.
Gondolas, taxis, vaporetti, boats and transports. These days Canal Grande is a highway where the vehicles advance in a slalom. In some canals lines of advancing gondolas can be seen, but as soon as they arrive in the Bacino or in Canal Grande it seems like they’ve ended up on an actual interstate.
Rialto is out of control after 1 AM. In the last two days three canal dives have been reported, one from the Bridge and the other two from the Line 2 pier.
“If we are already starting this way, what should we expect this summer?” commented the Venetians who live in the Rialto area and who have immortalized that which they now call the far west: “Is one death (the New Zealander who dove off a bridge and landed on a taxi) not enough? Do we want to see another?”
Friday evening two very drunk English fellows were quietly sitting on the pier for vaporetto line 2, with their legs dangling, oblivious to the possibility that a vehicle could arrive. One laughed out loud, the other slurred a few words. Both had high blood alcohol levels. People who were there say that at a certain point they got up, took off their clothes and… splash, a nice dive in Canal Grande. “After 1 AM there are no more patrols” continue the folks who live and work in the vicinity, “We don’t understand why there can’t be an officer in a permanent post or why cameras aren’t being used to identify people who are putting themselves and others in danger”.
It was the same scene Saturday night. This time the police were called, but when they arrived they found only a puddle of water. That was the only trace left of the person who did it in time to get back out and make an escape. In this case the dive was off the Rialto Bridge itself, with lots of spectators who recorded the scene with their cell phones, who themselves took off when they learned that the police were on the way.
Source: La Nuova Venezia