|"We show our faces, but Mr X doesn't": A recent post on the Poveglia Per Tutti Facebook page contrasts the transparent and communal aims of the group to the unknown aims and identity of the higher bidder for Poveglia|
Two bidders for the island emerged from the first part of the auction on May 6: the civic group Poveglia per Tutti (Poveglia for Everyone), with an initial bid of 160,000 euro, and an anonymous bidder known only as "User_10801a9e" who offered 513,000 euro. A couple of different identities have been put forth about the exact identity of this larger bidder, and in both cases "Mr X" or "Mr 513" (as the local papers now call him) is in the business of building luxury hotels.
Of course the fear of yet another private luxury tourist destination is what spurred the creation of Poveglia per Tutti. (Incidentally, about a year and half ago I saw a headline in the local paper that announced that the 5 star San Clemente Palace on the lagoon island of that name was going belly up, lest anyone be too quick to believe the popular fantasy that any luxury development in this New Gilded Age of ours is bound to be a rousing success. A Turkish firm purchased it in fall 2013).
Within three days after the first stage of the auction, Poveglia per Tutti had nearly doubled its bankroll, with contributions not just from city residents, but from people around the world. But as of today it still seems to have some ways to go to reach the baseline bid of 513,000 euro with which tomorrow's auction will begin.
For more about the auction, the island, and the bidders, see yesterday's piece in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/12/world/europe/island-fixer-upper-near-the-madding-crowd.html?hp&_r=1
A lot of Venetians I encounter are heartened by the efforts of Poveglia per Tutti. It seems all-too-easy for Venetians to believe that many of their fellow residents have given up hope of retaining any part of the city for themselves, have succumbed to the necessity of earning a living in a relentlessly touristic monoculture, have simply been worn down by forces that seem far too massive and relentless to oppose. After all, it seem that the selling off of public lands to private or corporate interests has been the goal, and is now the crowning achievement, of the last 30 or 40 years of international political and economic policy.
If you want to take a stand with Poveglia per Tutti, you can read about their project (in English, Italian, French, Russian, Spanish or German) and make a contribution at: http://www.message-in-a-bottle.org/
If the group is not successful in its bid for the island, your contribution less 19 euro will be returned to you.
Another recent post on the Poveglia per Tutti Facebook page shows the increase in contributions after the May 6 auction and asks "Mr 513" why he has not revealed his own plans for the island