As Venice counted its losses after devastating flooding reached near-record levels last week, many worried that increasingly frequent deluges are driving out the ancient city’s lifeblood: Venetians themselves.
Venice’s population has been falling for years already, NBC News reports. Some 53,000 people live in its historic center, according to the Venice municipality. Taking births, deaths, immigration and emigration into account, the population shrank by 803 people last year alone.
The stress and strain of daily life in the lagoon city, plus the back-of-the-brain worry that your home or business is vulnerable to flooding, is causing some to reassess the practicalities of life in Venice, according to residents and experts.
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“We’re concerned that some more people might decide to leave because living in Venice is really hard,” Venetian lawyer Marco Gasparinetti told NBC News.