Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Verdure Preserved: Una Gran Vittoria on Lido's Gran Viale

Protesters march on July 11 down Lido's Gran Viale between the trees they are trying to preserve
A large protest on July 11 down Lido's Gran Viale that interrupted traffic for a time seems to have made its point. Il commisario straordinario del Comune di Venezia, Vittorio Zappalorto, announced yesterday that Insula (the public/private company responsible for infrastructure projects in the city) would not be allowed to cut down very nearly all of the trees on the Gran Viale as it had originally planned. (My original post on this issue and the protest march can be found here:

Indeed, as Il Gazzettino sarcastically pointed out in today's paper (, some 150 to 200 trees have miraculously returned to good health after suffering from what the city's environmental councilor, Gianfranco Bettin, had just last April diagnosed as terminal cases of "risalita salina" (rising saltwater).

And yesterday's press release on the Comune di Venezia's official website announcing the trees' reprieve ( detailed a careful evaluation of the health of each tree that is drastically different from the wholesale hacking previously planned. The internal condition of even externally withered trees, it states, will be analyzed to determine the "real state of health" before a tree is removed. And Commissioner Zappalorto has, it continues, been assured by Insula that any trees felled will be replaced with others.

In a city in which many, if not most residents feel that their voices are typically drowned out by the insistent siren song of the tourist industry and the ever-present hum of cronyism and corruption, this is a significant achievement.