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The Standard of Saint Mark, the flag of the Venetian region, flies next to gondolas in Piazza San Marco in 2019. Heavily dependent on tourism, Venice is eager to attract young professionals who want to live in, not just visit, the historic city. 

The Standard of Saint Mark, the flag of the Venetian region, flies next to gondolas in Piazza San Marco in 2019. Heavily dependent on tourism, Venice is eager to attract young professionals who want to live in, not just visit, the historic city. 

Photographer: Federico Vespignani/Bloomberg
CityLab
Economy

Can Remote Workers Keep Venice Afloat?

The Italian city has launched a program to attract young professionals and digital nomads in a bid to repopulate its historic center. 

From Karuna Clayton’s window, she can see a gondola bobbing in a Venetian canal and a simple white stone church on one side of a small campo, or city square. Normally there would also be a steady trickle of tourists walking below, but on a January afternoon amid the pandemic’s omicron wave, the square’s empty. 

For the last nine months, this has been Clayton’s home and workspace. Formerly a commercial food photographer based in London, she now shares an apartment in Venice with her partner and two-year-old daughter, running a coaching business and teaching yoga alongside her photography.