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Venice praises UN listing for pandemic-hit glass bead makers

The delicate and intricate beads are a speciality of the island of Murano, in the Italian city's lagoon, where skilled workers have been making glass for centuries.

Venice praises UN listing for pandemic-hit glass bead makers
The island of Murano, Venice, is home to artisans crafting delicate glass beads. AFP
Venice on Thursday praised a UN decision to put the art of glass bead-making on its Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage, expressing hope it would help artisans hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
 
“It is a source of great pride to be able to see such a prestigious and significant recognition for one of the excellences of our tradition,” said Luigi Brugnaro, mayor of Venice, itself is a UN world heritage site.
 
 
Luca Zaia, president of the Veneto region, said it was “excellent news, which comes at a particularly difficult time for Venetian craftsmanship and
its activities”.
 
“The activities of glass furnaces and artisans have been hard hit by the effects of the health crisis, many are on the brink due to the collapse of tourism but also due to the closure of international markets and fairs,” he said.
 
“We hope that this recognition will become a driving force for recovery.”
 
Normally thronged with tourists, Venice has become a ghost town in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
 
UNESCO highlighted both Italy and France for the art of glass beads and the countries submitted a joint application, saying the practice “is closely
linked to the wealth of knowledge and mastery of a material (glass) and element (fire)”.
 
The heritage body highlighted the “lume” technique, where glass is melted around a metal rod and then shaped, as well as “da canna” beads, made by
cutting and softening hollow canes of glass.
 
The production of glass beads in Venice has been documented at least sincethe 14th century, and for hundreds of years they were considered a precious commodity for exchange and export worldwide.
 
Even when demand for glass objects fell, the production of pearls continued to flourish and kept the industry growing.
 
But the history of Venetian glass pearls has often been forgotten, as their creators are generally unknown, unlike the renowned glass masters, who crafted sculptures and vases in the Murano glass furnaces.
 
The glass factories have been based on the island since they were ordered to move there in 1291 after causing too many fires in the city centre.

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VENICE

EXPLAINED: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

Venice is introducing a new system to discourage day-trippers in hopes of curbing problems with overtourism in the popular hotspot. Here is what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

After years of discussing a possible “tourist tax”, the city of Venice has confirmed it will make day-trippers pay from €3 to €10 for access to the city centre starting on January 16th.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said the goal of the new tourism fee is to discourage day tourism at certain times of the year and encourage overnight tourism. Day-trippers will have to pay a fee, but those who stay overnight continue only to have to pay the city tax of €2 to €5, according to a government press release.

The Commission and the City Council will now examine the regulatory text for the final green light scheduled for the summer.

“We are the first in the world to introduce this system, and we are aware that not everything will work well from the beginning, but we will be ready to improve in the course of work. We want to guarantee the tourist the best quality of the visit and make sure that the city is able to give visitors all the services they need”, said Tourism Secretary Simone Venturini.

READ ALSO: After flooding and coronavirus, is it time Venice stopped relying on tourism?

How much will I have to pay?

The contributo di acesso, or access contribution, will cost from €3 to €10, depending on factors such as tourism numbers for the day and season.

The city will determine a certain threshold of tourists, after which people will be required to pay higher sums. Travellers are encouraged to book in advance to avoid price increases.

Does the payment have to be made in advance?

The government said that nobody would be denied entry to Venice, meaning a pre-registration is not necessary. However, the mayor said that those who book their visit in advance would be “rewarded”. The reward will likely discount the fee.

How will the system work? Where do I pay?

According to the City of Venice, the payment is an alternative to the city tax. It will be required from every person that goes to the old city centre of Venice, as well as other major tourist destinations and islands in the region.

READ ALSO: 16 surprising facts about Venice to mark 16 centuries of the lagoon city

A single payment guarantees access to the old town and the smaller islands.

Tourists will be able to pay through an online and “multilingual” platform where they will receive a QR code to present in case of controls. Tickets should also be available to buy in connection with public transport – so if you are arriving by train, it will be possible to buy the train ticket and the entry pass together.

Who is excluded or exempt from the payment?

There are several exceptions to the payment, according to the website. Among them are residents from the Comune di Venezia, those who work or study there, and those who own homes in the city.

Additionally, exceptions include those born in the Comune di Venezia, children under six years of age, people with disabilities and their accompanying person, public workers, volunteers, people visiting family members, prisoners, or attending funerals, and many others.

Residents of the Veneto region “up to the thresholds that will be set by a specific Council resolution” are also exempt.

Those who stay overnight and, therefore, already pay the city tax through their hotel or short-term rental booking are also exempt from the fee.

The city of Murano, in the metropolitan region of Venice (Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)

What about people arriving on cruises?

Venice is a very popular stop for cruise ships and people visiting the city on a cruise tour will also have to pay the fee as they disembark in the old town. However, the City of Venice said they might determine a lump-sum measure in agreement with the relevant carriers.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why more of Italy’s top destinations must limit tourist numbers

Which smaller islands are included?

Only one ticket and payment is required for those travelling to multiple islands, including Venice. The islands that are part of the group are:

  • Lido di Venezia
  • Pellestrina
  • Murano
  • Burano
  • Torcello
  • Sant’Erasmo
  • Mazzorbo
  • Mazzorbetto
  • Vignole
  • S. Andrea
  • La certosa
  • S. Servolo
  • S. Clemente
  • Poveglia

What if I simply don’t pay?

If you fail to produce proof of payment or that you are exempt from the fee, the sanction is from €50 to €300. The fine is the same in the case of people making false statements trying to obtain exemptions or reductions.

Additionally, visitors who don’t pay in advance will have to pay the full €10 fee.

For more info click here.

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