VENICE, Italy, June 19 (UPI) -- A group of Venice, Italy, residents have put themselves up for auction on eBay to draw attention to the increasing cost of living in the historic city.
The group of 22 Venetians, members of virtual community Venessia.com, said the auction was designed to draw attention to the decreasing population of the city of canals as developers build more hotels and drive up the cost of living, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Thursday.
"Venice is getting emptier every day," the group said. ''As of June 2008 it (the population) stands at 60,577 -- a steep drop of 143 compared to March."
The group is urging local leaders to stop a planned sale of prime palazzi.
The eBay auction, which had reached bids of $4,341 Thursday, offers "born and bred Venetians, excellent pedigree, last in stock: movie extras, fancy-dress parties, high-toned decoration. Going fast!"