Review: The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice, by Polly Coles

The author writes about the year she spent living in Venice with her husband and four young children. She loves Venice, its beauty, and its unique position as a 21st century functioning city of some 60,000 people but one without cars or trucks. There are however, problems with no easy solutions. On many days, except in the winter, there are as many or more tourists as there are residents in Venice, with thousands of these arriving on cruise ships for the day. The vaporetti (water buses which are a daily necessity for residents) are hopelessly crowded and real estate prices are soaring due to foreign buyers which makes it difficult for the native Venetians to buy or rent apartments. The food stores, pharmacies and other local establishments give way to shops catering to tourists since the latter can afford to pay higher rents. Still, Coles remains hopeful that solutions can be found so that Venice can be “not a mere monument, but a living city.”

RATING: * * * A good read

Reviewed by: kh

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