Already feeling the pinch are the world-famous glass-blowers who have been fashioning exquisite items on the Venetian islands of Murano for centuries. There’s a warning that the industry could be on the verge of collapse.
A report from the union that represents the craftsmen says 300 of its 800 members have been laid off and the situation is likely to worsen in the New Year. The pre-Christmas sales boom didn’t happen – in fact, there was a 25 per cent slump.
The cluster of islands north of the centre of Venice, collectively known as Murano, are home to 120 workshops large and small, all dedicated to turning out the delicate, richly coloured glassware that has traditionally been one of Venice’s most celebrated products. But orders are patchy and the mood in Murano is said to be grim.
I suppose it’s no surprise to learn that the Champagne industry has also lost some of its fizz. The latest figures from France’s champagne wine board, the CIVC, show a 23 per cent fall in the number of bottles leaving the main cellars in October compared with the same month in 2007.
A spokesman said this was probably to be expected in the current climate, although he added, rather hopefully, that champagne might help to soothe our economic ills. Or, as Winston Churchill once said of his favourite vintage tipple, Pol Roger: “In victory, we deserve it and in defeat we need it.”
by Andy Moreton
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