Murano is now an emergency: the “Io sono Murano” movement
26 June, 2020
By Giorgia Pradolin
Murano and its glass are in an emergency. The economic crisis on the island began about twenty years ago, with a tourism that became less and less wealthy, and in the aftermath of the coronavirus emergency the stores, the glassmakers and the furnaces risk lowering their shutters for good.
Master glassmaker Giancarlo Signoretto, the brother of Pino Signoretto, a historic name in glass production, pretends to work with empty tubes to represent the desperation: “This is the situation today – he says, referring to the absence of spectators around – the situation is very drastic, and we have to find a solution”.
The furnaces on the island are empty. Around thirty businesses related to artistic glass have reopened but are working little or not at all. Others have preferred to remain closed and wait for better times.
The people of Murano speak of a dual emergency, the exceptional acqua alta in November and Covid, two episodes that are linked by a red thread that keeps them suspended before an uncertain future.
Raffaella Lamberti, owner of a shop named after her, also has tears in her eyes while she speaks these words to those who ask about her business: “I am almost 74 years old, for 14 I’ve worked glass. Since we can’t do that, we’re asking for concrete help, because we’ve never seen a situation like this”.
This week the workers can be found under a banner with the slogan “Io sono Murano/I am Murano” to ask for help like tax relief. “On Murano we’ve been at a standstill for months – they said – now since the cursed acqua alta”.
There are no tourists, and the reduction of public transportation has caused another problem: “The glassmakers were already very much in crisis, and unfortunately Covid has not helped – says restaurateur Gabriiele Masiol, owner of “Busa alla torre” – just as the transportation situation has not helped Murano, and with the reduction of public transportation we have become isolated”.
Artisans and decorators are worried, explaining their difficulties in front of the camera of Andrea Rizzo, who has made a documentary that is ready to be spread on social media. This will be accompanied by a dozen pages of proposals which will soon reach the institutions.
“We have gathered ideas and proposal that we will bring to the attention of the Metropolitan and Regional administrations – explains Manuel Tiffi, spokesman for the initiative and of the group “In Venice Tourists are Welcome” – we don’t want out of control tourism like we had before, but it is undeniable that without tourists the city cannot live”.
Source: La Voce di Venezia
One thought on “At Murano, an emergency: the “I am Murano” movement”
There is no Venice without Venetians, but what is Venice without Murano glass? With no tourists, reduced transport links and Covid-19 restrictions, the glassmakers of Murano are in serious trouble, says Manuel Tiffi spokesperson for a group called ‘In Venice Tourists Are Welcome’, who has helped gather a list of ideas and proposals “that we will bring to the attention of the Metropolitan and Regional authorities. We don’t want out of control tourism like we had before, but it is undeniable that without tourists the city cannot live”.
Venice’s problems are multi-dimensional: too many expensive day trippers; too few longer stay, higher spending visitors; a lack of non-tourist employment, affordable housing and residential services that has led to steady migration to the mainland and a critical fall in population. Environmental damage due to climate change & unfettered water/air pollution and structural damage to the lagoon, canals and buildings by damage by cruise ships, taxis, vaporetti. As this Murano spokesperson noted, controlling the all-important tourist trade – and attracting fewer, higher spending visitors is urgently needed. But so is including the glassmaking industry in creating a new business dynamic that includes higher volume of global export and better marketing for it and Venice as a whole has to be pursued as well.
I’ve said it before – there is an urgent need for all the new (and existing) lobby groups who desperately want to save Venice and create a sustainable future of growth & prosperity to come together in a major symposium or conference of like minds. They need a clear set of practical, doable, costed proposals and a realistic schedule and time frame to complete these audacious tasks. They need regional, national, international philanthropic , financial & political support.
Can anyone tell me if this is happening? This little Murano group needs to be part of a bigger organisation…with one purpose. And one voice.