Prior to the pandemic, Venice, Prague and Amsterdam had become so saturated with visitors that locals no longer recognized their hometowns. But with COVID-19 restrictions, residents are breathing a sigh of relief while many businesses face unprecedented losses.
Italian populists—skeptical of the value of EU membership—drove Italy to become the first G7 country to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Then the pandemic brought generous EU aid, leaving Italy to reassess who its real friends are and how best to help its economy.
The pope, the Vatican — a tiny city-state surrounded by Rome — and the church in predominantly Catholic Italy have all been forced to modify centuries of tradition because of the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Venice is a place with a long tradition of convincing outsiders of its uniqueness. This tradition may continue to shape the way the world sees the city today — and could be what ends up helping the city survive.
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