Share

Abandoned Island to be Transformed Into Amusement Park

Colleen Barry
Published: October 31, 2013

A rendering of how San Biagio island in Venice will look like as a theme park. The $110 million project, planned by Alberto Zamperla of Zamperla, will transform this abandoned island that once housed an incinerator. (AP Photo/Zamperla Press Office, HO)

VENICE, Italy — An Italian company that built Coney Island's latest attractions and an amusement park in a never-activated nuclear plant in Germany on Wednesday unveiled plans to invest 80 million euros ($110 million) for a theme park in Venice.

Antonio Zamperla, whose company specializing in amusement park rides generates revenues of 60 million euros a year, envisions a 55-meter (yard)-tall Ferris wheel, a rollercoaster and other rides, alongside installations illustrating the Venetian lagoon's fragile ecology and the city's history.

"We are arriving on tip-toes, as if entering a crystal store so we don't cause any damage," Zamperla said.

The project, which is pending approvals, is planned for an uninhabited island that once housed an incinerator. Zamperla is promising to clean up a toxic site and create 500 jobs, but Venetians aren't so easily won over.

Just this summer, French designer Pierre Cardin, who was born nearby, canceled plans to build a 2.4 billion euro ($3 billion) luxury tower on a disused site facing Venice due to bureaucratic snags, after spending more than two years and unspecified millions of euros.

(MORE: Creepy, Abandoned Theme Parks)

Zamperla's park, dubbed L'isola San Biagio for now, could be open in two years "if things go smoothly, with no major opposition," he said.

Zamperla emphasized the project's focus on Venice's history. He is loath to call it an amusement park — an easy target for detractors who say the city already has been reduced to a sort of Venice-land, under the crush of tourists on the one hand and the exodus of Venetians to cheaper housing on the mainland on the other.

Lidia Fersuoch, president of the conservation group Italia Nostra's Venice chapter, said the project is flawed because it focuses only on tourism and doesn't propose ideas to attract residents and the kind of varied and vibrant economy that centuries ago made Venice a center of trade.

"We need the opposite of what they are doing, the possibility to make Venice a living city," she said. "We are always hostage to tourism."

Zamperla said his project will enrich tourists' experience and knowledge, but added that the amusement rides are necessary to pay for the cultural exhibits.

"In order to sustain the cultural investment, we need the attractions," he said. "Otherwise, it wouldn't pay for itself."

MORE: China's Olympic Stadium Transformed Into Water Park

Guests swim in the National Aquatics Center (Water Cube) in Beijing, China on August 8, 2010. The official 2008 Olympics swimming facility has been transformed into Happy Magic Water Park, an indoor water park with an underwater theme. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)


Featured Blogs

Tropical Storm Bertha Hits the Lesser Antilles

By Dr. Jeff Masters
August 1, 2014

The center of Tropical Storm Bertha was passing between the Lesser Antilles islands of Martinique and Dominica near 4 pm EDT on Friday, but has brought little in the way of strong winds or heavy rain to the Lesser Antilles Islands so far. As of 4 pm, Martinique had received 0.35" of rain, with top winds of 22 mph. Dominica had a wind gust of 43 mph at 4 pm EDT.

National 24-hour Precipitation Records

By Christopher C. Burt
August 1, 2014

Earlier this week, on July 28th, both Holland and Germany saw some incredible rainfalls that approached their respective all-time national records for greatest 24-hour precipitation totals. Here are some details on these events as well as a ‘potted’ list of some other national records of such.

Live Blog: Tracking Hurricane Arthur as it Approaches North Carolina Coast

By Shaun Tanner
July 3, 2014

This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.

Tropical Terminology

By Stu Ostro
June 30, 2014

Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.