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Venezia Autentica in a nutshell
Venezia Autentica is an activist brand and award-winning social enterprise that has been changing the way the world sees, experiences and impacts Venice since 2015.
Venezia Autentica was founded to save Venice, Italy, from the negative effects of mass tourism and to enable Venetians to stay living, and working in Venice. Venezia Autentica connects tourists with the tools and knowledge they need to discover and support the authentic Venice.
Venezia Autentica’s digital platform, veneziaautentica.com, makes it simple for visitors to have fun while supporting and sustaining small local businesses that have a positive impact on Venice’s community, economy, culture, and environment.
This aids in the preservation and creation of rewarding jobs and essential services for the local community, allowing new and long-term residents to remain in Venice. It also contributes to the vibrancy and authenticity of Venice by safeguarding the city’s cultural and natural heritage and enabling a more circular and regenerative economy.
Venezia Autentica’s team is grounded in context. Its founders have seen and felt the effects of mass tourism in Venice, firsthand.
The goal of Venezia Autentica is to inspire and make it easy to adopt behaviours that benefit people, places and the planet when travelling and working in Venice.
To accomplish this, we tell stories about and craft tools to benefit Venice’s local businesses and resident community. In doing so, we collaborate closely with local business owners and associations, while also constantly developing new ways to make tourism a better and more rewarding experience, as well as a source of inclusive and sustainable local development.
Through our work, we help increase the retention of tourism revenue in the local economy, improve the experience of the visitors and contribute to the preservation and regeneration of both the community and local heritage.
The founding team of Venezia Autentica is also working to change the impact of tourism beyond the city of Venice. Indeed, we want to help change the industry as a whole by transforming it at the root! We do so by advocating and sharing our knowledge with (future) government and business leaders through Overtourism Solution and by working to enable collective action through Tourism Allies.
Learn more about us and our work by reading on. (jump to find more information directly)
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Venezia Autentica's Mission & Work
Our mission is to change the way the World sees and impacts Venice, to build a better future for the residents of Venice. We organize our work around these 4 areas:
A New Paradigm, Grounded in Context and Lived Experience
Our work is the fruit of the experiences of our founding team, a former tourist, now living in Venice and a lifetime Venetian resident. We’re currently working with over 150 small businesses in Venice, to which our users contribute several millions of cumulated extra yearly revenue. Our owned content has reached over 70M people, and we have been humbled to work with leading international media and conferences around the world to share our mission, insights and story, helping to inform the way leaders and the public think about Venice, tourism and sustainability.
The online and offline narrative, language and products around Venice have been increasingly shifting towards the ones we have been developing and promoting since 2015. As industry frontrunners, powerful media voices and global advocates, we pride ourselves on the role we’ve been playing in these mindsets and market shifts. Learn more about our model and impact so far.
- Simply put, Valeria Duflot and Sebastian Fagarazzi, the co-founders of Venezia Autentica, want the option of a future in Venice, both for themselves and everybody who would like to live in the island city. They are part of a generation which is rapidly shrinking in number because of a lack of opportunities. If nothing changes, Venice will empty itself of Venetians and become a soulless theme park in only a few decades. To avoid this, Valeria and Sebastian decided to work on an alternative. They are convinced that the key to saving Venice is to keep people living and working in sustainable trades in the city and that it is the people themselves, Venetians and visitors, who can make it happen.
- The idea at the core of Venezia Autentica is that the international love for Venice, as well as responsible travellers, are key to the future of the Venetians and, therefore, of Venice.
- Venezia Autentica believes that there is no Venice without Venetians and that it is critical to keep the local population living and working in Venice. The concept behind the social enterprise is to empower people to have a direct and immediate impact on the future of the Venetians, by providing travellers and Venice lovers with the right set of tools and information and rewarding local actors working for the good of the local community and heritage.
- The ultimate aim of Venezia Autentica is to transform tourism in Venice from what it is today into a win-win-win where residents, visitors and the whole local ecosystem and heritage benefit. The team behind Venezia Autentica is also working to disseminate their now-proven model and empower others to create similar initiatives to transform the impact of tourism at the root.
- The idea of Venezia Autentica was born in Valeria’s mind on the 25th of March 2015, a day of celebration of the local culture and identity. After the closing of Sebastian‘s family shop in July 2015, due to the pressure of mass tourism, Valeria convinced Sebastian that they should get to work together on changing things in Venice.
- After conducting dozens of conversations with local business owners to hear their stories and confirm their theory of the way tourism has been impacting them, Valeria and Sebastian launched Venezia Autentica’s communication and advocacy campaigns on Social Media in October 2015. They started sharing news, info, and stories about the authentic Venice and the Venetians. From the earliest days, they shared unique and original content aimed at making it easy for people to discover the authentic Venice and directly support the Venetians, as well as to raise awareness about the issues the city faces because of mass tourism and the consequences it has on the local community. They rapidly assembled the fastest-growing community of Venice lovers and travellers to Venice. To date, they have over 100 000 followers (September 2022) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- In September 2016, they launched veneziaautentica.com, a website where users can find information, media, tools and stories about Venice’s people, history, culture, traditions, contemporary life and lifestyle, as well as recommendations and tips to experience Venice like real Venetians by eating, drinking, shopping, strolling where the locals do. The platform veneziaautentica.com sports a constantly updated and growing directory of detailed profiles of carefully vetted Venetian businesses for everyone to be able to visit and support them directly. By providing a digital presence to small businesses that positively impact the city and its community -often the only digital presence they have- and associating them with their increasingly recognised brand, Venezia Autentica is elevating the profiles of their partners and providing them with access to visitors that appreciate their work. Since the website’s launch, Valeria and Sebastian have received many testimonials from Venice visitors & lovers and business owners alike, stating the importance and impact of the work Venezia Autentica is doing and how it’s improving their experience of Venice.
- In March 2017, Valeria and Sebastian co-founded Venezia Autentica SRLS, a social business that they created to accelerate the impact of Venezia Autentica’s work and values. The purpose of the social enterprise is to develop more initiatives aiming at changing the relationship between locals and tourists, bringing closer Venetians and visitors, supporting the local businesses, creating rewarding opportunities for the Venetian youth, and improving the life of the Venetians as well as the quality of the stay of the visitors.
- In August 2017, Valeria and Sebastian launched the “Venezia Autentica Friends’ Pass”, a new and unique personal card that travellers can acquire on their website for only 10 euros and which gives them access to a 10% discount for a whole year at all the artisan shops part of the scheme. All artisan shops can be identified by the presence of Venezia Autentica’s logo on their window. They have signed a charter of values in which they commit to being and continue providing their customers with authentic, quality, sustainable products and services. This initiative aims to support, valorise and promote the small local businesses that make Venice proud and make it easier for their potential customers to recognise and patronise them. Besides increasing the footfall in select local businesses, the money collected when selling the Venezia Autentica Friends’ Pass supports the mission of Venezia Autentica.
- In September 2017, the Venezia Autentica Friends program started expanding to local bars, restaurants, pizzeria, gelateria, etc., meeting high authenticity, quality, and sustainability standards. As is the case with the artisan shop owners, all the new onboarded business owners committed to follow and continue following our dedicated charter of values as well as to reward people looking for them with a 10% discount for bills of over 30 euros.
- In October 2017, Venezia Autentica launched a new website, ‘Venezia Autentica Experience’, dedicated to promoting a tourism where locals and visitors meet and share time together. This time is dedicated to an intimate discovery and transmission of local arts, crafts, and traditions or the simple exploration of the Venetian life and lifestyle. It allows tourists to get a more meaningful and rewarding experience of Venice while directly supporting the local(s) they meet. It is also an opportunity to reinvent the relationship between tourists and locals and to transform tourism, something often felt by residents as a needed inconvenience, into a moment of fraternity and sharing. Last but not least, by booking an experience with locals, visitors contribute to making it easier for Venetians to stay in Venice doing what they love and to make a living out of it, something essential in a city where jobs and industries are in scarcity. Every experience booked on experience.veneziaautentica.com contributes to funding local businesses and the mission of Venezia Autentica itself.
- The estimated impact of Venezia Autentica in 2018 can be found at this link.
- More information about the model and impact of Venezia Autentica can be found here (September 2022)
- Beyond running campaigns and programs that make it easy & fun for visitors to make a positive impact in Venice and for local businesses to increase their revenue from tourism, Venezia Autentica regularly engages in press commenting. The founding team continuously share their vision and model of a beneficial tourism sector with industry and government leaders.
- The current objectives of the team behind Venezia Autentica are double: to deepen their impact in Venice and to help transform tourism around the world. Since 2019, they have started sharing their learning with government and business leaders. To do so, they have created a new brand, ‘Overtourim Solution‘. Through Overtourism Solution, the founding team of Venezia Autentica engages in advocacy and knowledge sharing around the field of social innovation, tourism and sustainable development at all levels.
- The founding team of Venezia Autentica believes that by enabling and resourcing inclusive and sustainable locally-led development, the tourism industry has the potential to address the world’s existential crises. To get there, they believe that models like Venezia Autentica’s should be the norm. Indeed, they envision a world in which tourism benefits communities and what is important to them. To help accelerate the sector’s transformation in this direction, since 2020, they have been exploring what additional role they could take to help foster a dynamic of transformation of the tourism ecosystem. They are now initiating and stewarding the co-creation of Tourism Allies, a radical container designed to connect, organise, and empower a distributed global ecosystem of changemakers who share this vision. (last updated in September 2022)
More info about Venezia Autentica Friends' Program: Intro video & Friends Hub
The resources available here are for media to use only for the purpose of reporting features and news related to Venezia Autentica in articles, blogs, broadcasts and other news reports. Venezia Autentica does not provide rights or authorize for any of our brand materials, including our images, to be altered, edited or misrepresented. All images should be credited to “Sebastian Fagarazzi/Venezia Autentica”