Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Most Beautiful Supermarket in the World? Teatro Italia - Part Two: The Balcony


Teatro Italia - Despar Supermarket - Venice
(Venice, Italy) Yesterday, I wrote a post about how the cinema, Teatro Italia, an architectural jewel inaugurated in 1916, had morphed into a Despar supermarket, which caused all sorts of commotion. All over the planet, people weighed in on what they thought about this. Many Venetians, who had grown up going to the movies at Teatro Italia, or, later, to the university, were understandably sad. I had also written that for people everywhere, the movie houses we grew up with hold special memories, and it is difficult to watch them change.

What never ceases to amaze me, however, is how people who do not live in Venice and have no emotional connection whatsoever to the theater -- it had been closed for ages -- always seem to voice strong critical opinions about what goes on around here. I understand that many people feel that "Venice belongs to the world," but some of these same people seem to have no qualms about making a buck or two off Venice themselves.

Stairway to balcony
In any event, I returned to Teatro Italia today, and spoke to one of the people who worked on the reconstruction, whom I will call GC. We went up to the balcony, which, in the future, will transform into a cultural center for the community, with art exhibits, concerts, book launches -- things like that. (Look in the top photo. Do you see the space above the words "Teatro Italia" with the neo-Gothic windows? That is the balcony.)

Balcony at Teatro Italia
GC told me that last night he gazed at the theater, and felt as if he had been transported back 70 years. It was a magical moment, as if time had stood still. It was obvious that he deeply loved the building, and was doing the work with the upmost care. He showed me one of the columns and explained that it was no ordinary column, but like a tree with roots that spread out under the pavement.

Windows  up in the balcony
The day before I had also met some executives from Despar (by sheer coincidence -- they were going out the same time I was), and they were lovely people.

Yes, we are sad that Teatro Italia is no longer a cinema, but when a company is a nice company, willing to work with the community, I think a spirit of cooperation is the best way to move forward. Hey, maybe one day in the future we can even watch a video up in the balcony -- who knows?

Teatro Italia is now a Despar supermarket, and there is nothing anyone can do to change that. New memories will be created for the next generation. Now, how can we all work together to make sure it truly is the Most Beautiful Supermarket in the World?

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat Bauer
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. I returned to Teatro Italia today, and spoke to one of the people who worked on the reconstruction, whom I will call GC. We went up to the balcony, which, in the future, will transform into a cultural center for the community, with art exhibits, concerts, book launches -- things like that.

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