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Non è triste Venezia. Pietre, acque, persone. Reportage narrativo da una città che deve ricominciare

Francesco Erbani knows Venice well, it’s where he usually spends part of his time. He returned to answer challenging questions about its current state, starting with the most radical: is Venice dying? Even those who persist in living there ask the same, as the many people from all over the world who are worried about its agony. Every year abandoned by an increasing number of citizens, in winter, almost regularly, half submerged by the threatening waters of the lagoon, invaded by the masses of global tourism, Venice loses life by being reduced to the postcard of itself. Can the site that fascinates the world because it evokes the ideal city where the inhabitants do not suffer the barriers of progress and, rather, are invited to meet by its very conformation, generate social and productive forms appropriate to these times? Can the city built on the water imagine today a new and virtuous coexistence with it’s natural environment? He meets architects, urban planners and other experts, environmentalists, administrators and passionate citizens, collects testimonies together with data, official documents and historical news. From the inhabitants he collects exemplary stories and weaves them together with his own observations and the documents of the investigation, composing a report that reads like a story. Today that the first world pandemic makes us think that our cities will no longer be hostage to globalization, this work presents itself as a manifesto for cities in harmony with the natural environment, with the history and future of its inhabitants. For the author Venice has a future, because, \’In Venice there are the conditions for prefiguring an urban organism of the future\’, that is: the possibility of bringing together human civilization and nature, the typical hospitality of multicultural contexts, the sociability of urban spaces designed to meet the public and private dimensions of life. Ultimately, speaking of Venice we talk about all our cities, and, in fact, so the book closes with this quote from Italo Calvino\’s invisible cities: \’Every time I describe a city I say something about Venice,\’ says Marco Polo to Kublai Kan. “To distinguish the qualities of the others, I have to start from a first city that remains implicit. For me it is Venice\’.

Francesco Erbani, journalist of the cultural pages of \’Repubblica\’, is the author of several investigations on the urban and environmental degradation of Italy, among them: L\’Italia maltrattata, 2003; Il disastro. L’Aquila dopo il terremoto: le scelte e le colpe, 2010; Pompei, Italia, 2015; Roma disfatta, con Vezio De Lucia, 2016; L\’Italia che non ci sta, 2019.