This week, the old mayor of Venice became the new mayor of Venice. Massimo Cacciari, 59, narrowly beat local magistrate Felice Casson to return to the office he held from 1995 to 2000 . This is good news.
He's my kind of mayor .... a poet, professor, philosopher, and ex-student radical from the 60's. He was mayor the entire time I lived in Venice. I'd bump into him from time to time on the vaporetto as he went to visit his girlfriend on La Giudecca.
He was mayor when the La Fenice opera house was torched in 1996 by electricians Enrico Carella and his cousin, Massimiliano Marchetti (both currently serving a 6-year stretch), and was even himself indicted for negligence in the blaze, a charge he easily beat in 2001.
He's a pal of Woody Allen, and officiated at his marriage to Soon-Yi Previn on Christmas eve, 1997.
He was rumored to have slept with the wife of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, something they both deny.
Most mayors are civic cheerleaders, whooping it up for commerce and tourism. Cacciari, on the other hand, openly hates mass tourism and its affect on Venice. Cacciari, on the other hand, launched what CBS' 60 Minutes called "the first anti-tourist campaign in history", commissioning a Benetton photographer to shoot posters showing "Venice at its worst: the dead rats, the polluted waterways, the tackiest souvenirs".
Welcome back, Massimo.