How today’s urbanized Italy is different from the city of the ’70s

Mannequins in costumes by CGIO Art Weavers stand in the river being pushed by a kayak during the Central Venice street market that was started 50 years ago this year, in central Venice on June 27, 2014. The bustling festival with live entertainment has been held in a residential area and seen as a kind of pilgrimage for anyone who has spent some time in the beautiful city. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

A group of balaclava-clad people push a curtained-off stage through a canal in downtown Venice. They sing a cappella as the crowd follows with choreographed moves. Kneeling dancers chant and clap to the music. In the background, people in wetsuits and other costumes dive in a canal next to them. The whole scene, which closes the summer street market, seemed like something from a traveling video from the ’80s.

The Italy of the urban citizenry and its lifestyles have matured dramatically in the last half century. Central Venice, a city known for its seasons of art, food and culture, is not seen as its antithesis. It’s more like the opposite, as it provides a glimpse of what more people have become: urban citizens.

From the fields to the rooftops, more people have moved into the city, bringing with them a few characteristics. At first, they may come with the overwhelming desire to enjoy the services and culture in the city, which can be stifling for others who do not appreciate it. But after a while, they may want to live a better life. They can find that in the modern city, income can be better, there are better amenities, and people are able to have more leisure time.

Some Italians have become more interested in their own health, and many don’t mind doing the shopping and other tasks required to get a good living as it is, but they still want to relax and enjoy life. Thus, they are making the city their own.

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