|A view of Teatro Marinoni from its balcony|
Teatro Marinoni is a part of the large Ospedale al Mare medical complex on the northeastern end of Lido. Devoted to the treatment of tubercular patients for most of the 20th Century, a very few of the buildings were still in use--my son saw an optometrist there just over a year ago--when the city of Venice sold the whole property to Est Capital in 2010 for 94 million euro. Est Capital had previously bought the famous Hotel Des Bains (the setting of Mann's Death in Venice) in order to convert it into luxury condos (still in process), and has similarly "exclusive" beach-front development plans for the ex-Ospedale.
The problem with these plans, and the sale, is that the hospital complex includes Teatro Marinoni, pictured above, which was funded by Dr Mario Marinoni and designated as a gift to the residents of Venice to be used in the interests of the public good. Therefore, a group of Venetians has argued since the fall of 2011, Teatro Marinoni cannot be sold to a private developer without expressly violating the terms of Dr Marinoni's bequest.
Late in 2011 some Venetians began occupying Teatro Marinoni, not only living in it as "squatters," but developing an entire program of free public events--musical performances, dance, theater, and workshops of every kind for both adults and children--that would be in keeping with Marinoni's original vision of the space as dedicated to public well-being and community building. These events continue and the group's commitment to them is unchanged.
One of the things that has changed since I first wrote of the place is those few buildings that were still in use at the time of my original post have now been abandoned as well. And I mean abandoned as people are wont to abandon buildings when a tidal wave is heading their way, or a zombie apocalypse, with all kinds of personal and medical materials left behind (including x-rays and records), as you can see in the recently-taken photos on the following Polish blog:
|The western exterior of Teatro Marinoni at high noon, with its recently boarded-up windows|
|Tent, beach chair, and a salvaged massage table in the middle of what was once a garden courtyard|
|Some of the derelict buildings of the ex-Ospedale al Mare|
But for all of the changes I've mentioned, nothing about the status of Teatro Marinoni has changed since I first wrote of it in January 2012. The property remains in private hands and the residents occupy it illegally, tolerated by the police--who regularly pass by the property at night--and by city officials. But more about that, along with photos of the inside of the building, in the next post, Part 2.
|The view east, toward the Adriatic|
|The outdoor kitchen sink|
|The outdoor dining room, which includes a gas stove|
|"Banano, Banano," the sign says, "qui cresci forte e sano." [Banano, Banano, here you grow strong and healthy]|