Toyota Bridge of Sighs

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel rumblings

Bridge of Sighs

One of the great sites of Venice is the Bridge of Sighs. For a little while its impact has been greatly reduced as much of it has been hidden by awnings as restoration work takes place. Almost a year ago, as the picture shows, the awning carried advertisements for a watch manufacturer. Now a reader who visited it last month has sent us a picture of the new advertisement. It is for Toyota.

Now the one thing about Venice which every schoolboy knows is that the roads in Venice are a little damp. Well more than damp, downright wet owing to the fact that they are canals. A car in Venice is about as useful as a knife and fork is to a fish. So the fact that Toyota have advertised on the awning shows either a desire by the local council to accept advertising from anybody; Toyota thought by doing it they would get lots of ironic publicity or they bid the most to appear. Couldn’t they have found a more relevant advertiser like Mercury or Yamaha outboard engines? Couldn’t a relevant Italian company be found like Ruggerini? And if not relevant, wasn’t Fiat even interested?

The bridge in front is a Toyota

The bridge in front is a Toyota

Last August, CD-Traveller pointed out that in Rome, sponsorship was being sought for heritage sites due to economic reasons. Is this a similar case?

When restoration has taken place on other major buildings in Venice there have been awnings but not daubed with third party advertising. They have been images that almost blended in with the surroundings or contained notices about when it might re-open. Even when the casino on the Grand Canal had some work done, the awning blended. Is civic pride a thing of the past? What we have now is council sponsored graffiti.

You could argue that the Toyota advert isn’t very overpowering but where do you draw the line? Admittedly the money to restore much of Venice is huge but isn’t there a dividing line between tat and support? Doesn’t it belittle the city when it has to admit that it can’t even support its own heritage? Why don’t they just go the whole hog and rename the place Toyota Venice and turn the bus station into a giant Toyota dealership and have done with it?

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