"The Italian newspapers claim that Venice is not only being swamped with mass tourism and threatened by floods from the Adriatic Sea, but will soon also be awash with fizzy drinks."
"The city council has accepted a $2.7m subsidy from the drinks giant, Coca Cola."
"Sixty vending machines will sell the drink all over the city, including at the main waterbus stations and reportedly even St Mark's Square, where a city ordinance already forbids picnicking by tourists."
"The Mayor of Venice, Massimo Cacciari, has complained loudly about the lack of state funding to conserve the crumbling palaces and churches of city and has strongly defended his decision to accept money from the US company."
"Commercial sponsorship is the only financial strategy for safeguarding the monuments of Venice, he says."
"The cash-strapped Italian government led by Silvio Berlusconi has slashed its budget for culture and the arts by a half this year and is investing millions of dollars in an ambitious engineering scheme of flood barriers to prevent Venice being swamped by high tides in winter."