Venetians have finally disembarked .. Foto by Poveglia per tutti
Una giornata di pulizia, di festa, di riappropriazione. E di poesia: A day of cleaning, celebrating, of re-appropriating ... and of poetry, which got even dedicated a site of its own: Poveglia per Tutti
29 September was a "bookmark day" in Venice: Venetians finally visited their long- contended island together, to (re-)discover its flora and hidden gardens. To do that, one must start by cleaning, and this is what they did !! But it was also planning of what the future could bring, how Venetians can contribute to turning this island into a real jewel. The title of this post sounds like a fairy story for children, but is actually the start to begin work on the island, including the tapping of crowd financing sources and international subsidies and grants, like those provided by the European Investment Bank.
Foto by Poveglia per tutti
This Sunday 29 September meant both - gardening in the literal sense, that is, pruning and cleaning up dead wood and plants, litter and debris, but it also represented a sort of "gardening the hearts", by realizing the dream of coming to Poveglia together, which expresses a sense of belonging, so alive in Venice in 2014.  Below is the invitation to Tappa a Poveglia (visit to Poveglia), a symbolic start to work on the island.
In this video by Telepoveglia you can see what the 800 Venetians that came to Poveglia on 28 September, have achieved: collecting debris in 111 big black garbage bags ..
Click here for the video
In April 2014, the Poveglia initiative was started by a group of Venetians living on the island of Giudecca, who had met in their bar-caffé La Palanca and discussed the fact that the Italian State was about to auction off the island of Poveglia. Venetians started a successful international campagain, winning over many friends and financial support from Italy and abroad. All to save a small neglected island which had almost been forgotten, off-limits, though it is an island "on the doorstep" of the Lido.
Sognando Poveglia 1 - dreaming Poveglia, seen from a plan flying over the lagoon: Where is it ??
On 28 September, Venetians set to work and pruned and cleaned, put up white tents and picknicked in the meadows, as you can see from the pictures published on the Poveglia per tutti Facebook Page.
Picture by Poveglia per Tutti
Associazione Poveglia has appropriate words for their debut visit:
.. una comunità ha dato inizio alla riappropriazione di un pezzo del suo territorio, che merita di essere vissuto - a community has started to take back a piece of its territory that is worth enjoying ..
Portatori di sogni is their motto, expressed during the gatherings on Poveglia, based on the words of Italian-born poetress Gioconda Belli:
In tutte le profezie è scritta la distruzione del mondo, tutte le profezie raccontano che l'uomo creerà la sua propria distruzione. Ma i secoli e la vita che sempre si rinnova hanno generato anche una generazione di amanti e di sognatori; uomini e donne che non hanno sognato la distruzione del mondo, ma la costruzione del mondo delle farfalle e degli usignoli. In all profecies, the destruction of the world has been announced, all profecies relate that man will create his own destruction. But as the centuries go by, life, rejuvenating itself, has created a generation of lovers and dreamers: men and women that don't have in mind its destruction, but the construction of the world of butterflies and nightingales.
Sognando Poveglia: Looking towards the southern lagoon, from Giudecca
So does Poveglia come close to what the original flora and fauna of the lagoon looked like? Yes and no. In the course of centuries, both flora and fauna have changed - with regard to animals, you cannot find the "wild ponies" on the shore anymore, as happened during Roman times. No more wolfs, which in remote times arrived on the land tongue reaching into the lagoon and even on the group of islands that would later be called "Rialto". With regard to plants, we are getting closer to the original state, and certainly, it is a sanctuary for birds and butterflies ..
Source Daniele Scarpa
Poveglia is an island taken back by nature, though there are remnants of human fortifications: Poveglia is lined by a brick-fortified main canal, by which it is divided into two parts, Here you can clearly make out the four zones of lagoon plant life: in particuar, it is "zone B", with herbs growing on sandy soil, but also junipers and tamarix shrubs (salt cedars), pines, deciduous trees, canes and evergreen oaks. This ecosystem needs to be saved ... an cleaned ... so the Friends of Poveglia collected rubbish and waste littering the meadows and shrubs in 111 garbage bags on that Sunday 29 September !!!
Typical brick-fortified canal (otherwise, the tides would blur and finally wash away the shore)
This sunny Sunday spent on the island was just a beginning within the framework of activities defined by the Association, they are listed in the following link. There are working groups meeting regularly, outlining how the island could be used by Venetians, based on renewable energy and green building concepts, to be presented to the EIB (European Investment Bank). The first step is the requalification of the southern meadow-like areas of the island, with the possibility for Venetians to visit regularly. To attract visitors, they plan didactic itineraries on specific topics (lagoon flora and fauna!!).
The celebration and poetry part on Sunday, 29 September
La memoria del paradiso è antica nel cuore dell'uomo. The memories of paradise have survived in man's heart.
Sognando Poveglia 2 - far in the background on the right. Seen from the Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore

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