VENICE, Italy – Venetians, an ever-diminishing breed, have protested in their lagoon city to draw attention to their problems of daily life.
Hundreds of Venetians, carrying suitcases to symbolize their steady exodus from their beloved city, walked through Venice Saturday, traipsing over the bridges that crisscross canals.
In less than a century, Venice's population has shrunk from 200,000 to some 55,000.
Several factors are blamed, including high prices driven by a boom in tourism, the logistics of supplying a carless city, and the erosion of canal-side apartment buildings by lapping waters.
Basements and ground floors in much of Venice are frequently flooded when the "acqua alta" (high water) phenomenon floods the city, forcing residents and visitors alike to don thigh-high boots and use raised walkways.