Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
Venetian Artisanship and Climate Change
Your voice alights on my armhair,
a whiff of cigar smoke—
caramel, and ghostly—
“Cities die; let them.”
“Death in Venice” is a joke nowadays. No more quaint gondolas streaking from island to island. No more bustling and yelling in the marketplace in the Rialto. Venice is a dead, or dying, a lost city among the rising waves of the Adriatic. Despite many efforts, Venice faces a high tide of problems in our modern world, including economic downturns and touristic booms—creating, ironically, a tightened market for handmade objects and literal high water.
Many Venetians are, by trade, artigiani: artisans, hand-workers, living in another time. Their way of life is dying. The loss of the craftsmanship of Venice would remove the one remaining source of income for this population. Climate change is directly affecting their daily life and compounds their already considerable problem set. The city is sinking, sea levels are rising, the climate is changing, and artisans are struggling to adapt.
The tide rises, winter approaches…