On April 25 Venice celebrated both Festa di San Marco and Italian Liberation Day. Venetians had one more thing to celebrate- the completion of the renovations of the Bell Tower. Finally, after a few years of construction we would all be able to enjoy the square sans barriers around the Campanile. Or so we thought. Mysteriously the "Venezia Offical Store", an unsightly structure of glass and metal, appeared at the foot of the Campanile. The purpose of this structure was to sell tickets to the new Manet exhibit and tourist souvenirs.
Between that time and now the Venetians mobilized, organized a new Facebook page, via il Gabbiotto dal Campanile, and got a petition circulated online asking the city government to remove this gabbiotto (booth). The square is a UNESCO world heritage site, and as such, a modern (and quite tacky )booth isn't quite appropriate to be at the foot of the Campanile. Furthermore, it's not like we needed one more location to be selling tourist trinkets. There's plenty of that. I joined the Facebook page instantly, signed the petition and passed it along. And in doing so, I felt like I belonged. Finalemente!
It didn't seem as though the local government was paying much attention to the uproar created on the Facebook page. Local newspapers were printing daily articles noting the increasing numbers of Facebook fans to the page, and the rising number of signatures to the online petition.
And then there was the article yesterday. What a surprise. A pleasant one. I wanted to get up and start singing "Ding Dong, the wicked witch is dead!" The gabbiotto beneath the Campanile is to be dismantled. Soon. A much smaller one will make an appearance under the portico of the Doges Palace where tickets will be sold, and will be removed mid August when the Manet exhibit has ended. Only tickets, no trinkets.
I'm impressed that a movement of the people was the catalyst behind something good happening for a change. It makes me hopeful.