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Musings from Murano

Murano, Italy


Staying on Murano has many advantages when I am jet-lagged and need to get to an appointment anytime after the sun comes up. I am either awake, not having slept all night, or I am solidly asleep having finally given in to the wacky time change. When I do make it out the door I am able to walk anywhere I need to go without having to take a vaporetto, (public bus on the water). A big advantage that is, because today the Italian transportation workers went on Sciopero (strike).

I only know this because someone told me, "Yes, everything is shut down because the boats that transport people here to the island are on strike". This got me thinking. Murano is an island after all which means I can't leave. So I googled the distance between Murano and Venice in case I had to swim. The distance is approximately 2 kilometers, a little over 1 mile, doable in an emergency but I'd rather not swim in the murky waters of the Venetian lagoon, especially in March when temperatures run around 40°F both in the water and out.

Murano has become a destination, a place to visit or to work with very few permanent residents. At its height, in the 1500’s, there were 30,000 people living here and presently there are only 4491. Today many of the daily workers in stores, restaurants, cafes come in from outside and thus today with the sciopero, it was very quiet. Stores were closed, restaurants empty.

Holding strikes is very common here in Italy but if you don’t read the paper or watch the news you may never know it’s happening. There is no one holding a sign or chanting “unfair labor practices”. It’s decided and you just don’t show up for work. The public has been warned, you take the day off and let the chips fall where they may. My favorite strike is the “Sciopero in bianco”—the White Strike. I’m not sure why they call it this but it is especially frustrating as all businesses stay open but they have to follow every rule in every rule book. The problem is no one knows what the rules are!! Perfect way to create chaos!

Elisabetta at My Italian Decor

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