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Sacca San Biagio

Ex incinerator island, but future theme park?

The island with the now demolished incinerator

In 2013, it made headlines around the world: Zamperla, the Italian company that manufactures amusement rides, proposed to invest €80 million on a Tivoli-style garden and theme park on the Sacca San Biagio, one of Venice's artificial, uninhabited islands just off the Giudecca. Made in the 1930s and 40s, from landfill, it was used as the site of an incinerator. This was closed in 1985, but left behind a polluted, four-hectare island.

Zamperla has offered to clean up the island and create a theme park evoking Venice's history with and the ecology of the lagoon using 3D technology, along with a park open to all and amusement rides, including a roller coaster and a 49m-tall Ferris wheel, all powered by renewable energy and promising to create 500 jobs along the way. Neighbouring Sacca Fisola will possibly be linked by a bridge and host a large outdoor amphitheatre. There will be reproductions of Venetian galleys, and maybe even re-enactments of the Battle of Lepanto.

For decades tour operators have bemoaned the lack of a multimedia information centre dedicated to Venetian history, especially for the many school groups that visit the city. Others say it will help to get some of the 25 million visitors to Venice out of the Piazza San Marco. Opponents say the last thing Venice needs is an amusement park, that might bring in even more visitors, and they hate the idea of a Ferris wheel in the lagoon. Stay tuned.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Image by Io - L' ho fatta io, Creative Commons License