Café Life Venice
A Guidebook to the Cafés and Bacari of La Serenissima
Continued from page 2
Excerpt 2: Muro
This second excerpt is from the San Polo section of
Life Venice. It's taken from a nine-page article about Muro, a stylish
modern bar (its name means "Wall") that was built within the shell of an
abandoned butcher shop near the Rialto food markets, and it shows why you
needn't be a native to feel welcome at Muro and other Venetian bacari,
wine bars, or restaurants:
Competing for local clientele
(a shrinking commodity) is quite a challenge when you consider that there
are 40,000 people living in Venice, and a total of 60,000 including the
surrounding islands. This equates to a loss of about 110,000 inhabitants
since 1946 when the Venetians numbered 170,000. (In the first half of the
1400s, the population numbered 150,000, making it the largest city in
The average loss is about 1,000
Venetians per year, often replaced by wealthy foreigners. You have to be
commited to life in La Serenissima, as writer Thomas Mann described it,
"half fairy tale and half tourist trap." The city is damp, with exorbitant
real estate prices and rents, shrinking services, and the yearly invasion of
12 million tourists. Due to these factors, many Venetians scappano
(escape) to terra ferma (as they call the mainland).
Giacomo describes his challenge
this way: "In Venice, there are 20 to 25,000 anziani (elderly) 65 to
70 years old. That's one-third of the population, then there is 20 percent
bambini (children). That leaves 10-15,000 people going to bars,
restaurants, and bacari, but some of them stay at home with children, or for
other reasons. So between the ages of 22 and 40, we figure there are only 2
to 3,000 people who are in circulation, which is why we hope that the
tourists will eventually want to come here also."
-- From Café Life Venice
(text by Joe Wolff)
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