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No 'trueblood' Venetians

Components from Balkans and Asia, DNA study finds

27 July, 17:15
No 'trueblood' Venetians (ANSA) - Venice, July 27 - There is no such thing as a 'trueblood' inhabitant of Venice, an American research group said Tuesday on the basis of DNA evidence.

"The samples don't show any specific trait to differentiate Venetians from at least three generations of other Europeans," said Fabio Carrera of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.

Carrera said the result reflected Venice's long role as a melting pot for foreigners and a cultural bridge between East and West.

According to the findings, two thirds of Venice's current population were of European origin.

Large components came from northern Italy and smaller ones from central Italy, the Balkans and Asia, he said.

The DNA was taken in November when Venice staged a mock funeral to highlight efforts to halt a seemingly unstoppable demographic decline in the lagoon city. Samples were provided by male volunteers with at least one grandparent born in Venice.

While the main aim was to trace the roots of the Venetians and their subsequent expansion across a maritime empire that once ruled much of the eastern Mediterranean, the study also hoped to figure out where the ancient Venetian tribes originally came from.

This is believed to be somewhere in eastern Europe.


The mock funeral on November 13 lamented the drastic shrinking of Venice's native population.

Three gondolas escorted a red coffin along famed canals in a symbolic lament for the once-flourishing city's hollowing-out.

In the 1950s there were some 300,000 native Venetians but the latest surveys say the population has shrunk to 60,000.

People have been fleeing to cheaper and more liveable local towns amid a rising tourist influx that has pushed up consumer prices and a spike in property values that has seen wealthier outsiders buy second homes there.

According to the US newsmagazine Newsweek, there may not be a single 'trueborn' Venetian left there by 2030.

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