Cultural icons, including Sir Mick Jagger, demand Italian authorities protect Venice

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Celebrities from the worlds of film, art and music have written an open letter to the Italian government calling for the protection of Venice as tourists begin to return.

Sir Mick Jagger, Tilda Swinton and others pleaded with politicians to prevent the historic city from turning into “a theme park like Disneyland” by failing to regulate tourism after the pandemic.

“Venice is showing its suffering and we citizens of the world cannot remain insensitive,” the letter reads.

“We ask you to preserve not only the immense artistic heritage, but also the life of the city, which gives a soul to the stones and paintings.”

The 21 signatories, including executives Francis Ford Coppola and Wes Anderson, have presented a list of 10 issues they believe need to be addressed to protect the “physical and cultural identity” of The City of Bridges.

Venice, with its iconic canals and basilicas, has long attracted tourists from all over the world, but in recent decades, visitor numbers and the arrival of cruise ships have begun to strain the site.

Celebrities from the worlds of film, art and music have written an open letter to the Italian government calling for the protection of Venice as tourists begin to return [Stock image]

Celebrities from the worlds of film, art and music have written an open letter to the Italian government calling for the protection of Venice as tourists begin to return [Stock image]

The 21 signatories presented a list of 10 issues they believe need to be addressed to protect Venice's 'physical and cultural identity'

The 21 signatories presented a list of 10 issues they believe need to be addressed to protect Venice’s ‘physical and cultural identity’

The city, with its iconic canals and basilicas, has long attracted tourists from all over the world, but in recent decades, visitor numbers and the arrival of cruise ships have begun to strain the site.

The city, with its iconic canals and basilicas, has long attracted tourists from all over the world, but in recent decades, visitor numbers and the arrival of cruise ships have begun to strain the site.

Rising sea levels and a shrinking population – at their lowest levels since the 1950s – are also a concern.

Many Venetians rely on tourism to earn a living, while recognizing that the sheer numbers of visitors – some 25 million a year before the pandemic – have changed the character of the city and threaten to make it unlivable.

The stars are pleading with Italian officials to ban affordable housing for Venetians, ban cruise ships from the lagoon and adopt much stricter regulation of tourist numbers.

They suggest a “management system modeled on large museums like the Louvre, where groups can only enter if they have a reservation.”

The signatories have also urged the government to complete the Moses Flood Barrier – a multi-billion euro project that has taken 17 years to date – and crack down on apartments rented through Airbnb and other sites targeting are on tourists.

The letter was addressed to Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Italy’s tourism and culture ministers and the mayor of Venice.

Sir Mick Jagger and others pleaded with politicians to prevent the historic city from turning into 'a theme park like Disneyland' by failing to regulate tourism after the pandemic [File photo]

Tilda Swinton and other stars beg Italian officials to provide affordable housing to Venetians, ban cruise ships from the lagoon and adopt much stricter regulation on tourist numbers [File photo]

Sir Mick Jagger (left), Tilda Swinton (right) and others called on politicians to prevent the historic city from turning into ‘a theme park like Disneyland’ by failing to regulate tourism after the pandemic. The stars are pleading with Italian officials to ban affordable housing for Venetians, ban cruise ships from the lagoon and adopt much stricter regulation of tourist numbers.

Directors Francis Ford Coppola (pictured) and Wes Anderson are among the signatories of the letter that comes as tourists slowly return to the city [File photo]

Directors Francis Ford Coppola (pictured) and Wes Anderson are among the signatories of the letter that comes as tourists slowly return to the city [File photo]

It comes as tourists slowly return to the city. Some hotels are already 70 percent full and the first cruise ships of the season will dock on Saturday.

The MSC orchestra will be met by Venetian protesters. Same ship in 2019 crashed into a wharf and a riverboat on the Giudecca Canal, Corriere della Serra reported.

The Italian government indicated in March that it was ready to ban liners in the Giudecca Canal, but the letter urged to go further.

“Large cruise ships should be banned permanently, not just from the San Marco basin and the Giudecca Canal, but throughout the lagoon,” it reads.

The letter was drafted by the Venetian Heritage NGO, whose director Toto Bergamo Rossi defended the letter’s wealthy signatories against allegations of meddling in the city’s affairs.

Venice is Italy’s only international city. His heritage is of the world. The people who signed the letter are not just a collection of household names.

“They are really involved with the city and some are on the board of our foundation,” he said The Telegraph.

“Like many Venetians, they want a city that is better than it was before the pandemic. It used to be total anarchy. But we now have the chance, before mass tourism returns, to change things.

“Every year there are fewer of us and Venice is getting more and more fake. If we don’t act now, it will be like Disneyland – just a third world version, without the Disneyland organization.”

The letter was drafted by the Venetian Heritage NGO, whose director Toto Bergamo Rossi defended the letter's wealthy signatories against allegations of meddling in the city's affairs.

The letter was drafted by the Venetian Heritage NGO, whose director Toto Bergamo Rossi defended the letter’s wealthy signatories against allegations of meddling in the city’s affairs.

The Italian government indicated in March that it was ready to ban liners in the Giudecca Canal, but the letter urged to go further.

The Italian government indicated in March that it was ready to ban liners in the Giudecca Canal, but the letter urged to go further. “Large cruise ships should be banned permanently, not just from the San Marco Basin and the Giudecca Canal, but from the entire lagoon,” it reads

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