Venice Flooding Cruise Tourism Apocalypse Close – This week has been a horrible week for residents, business owners and cruise tourists alike. Some 85% of Venice has been flooded at levels not seen since a historic inundation in 1966. Water surged inside St. Mark’s Basilica and other monuments and works of art were under threat. Damage estimates already are in the hundreds of millions of euros, and high tides are expected to cause further flooding.
“We ask the government to help us, the costs will be high,” Mayor Brugnaro tweeted. “These are the effects of climate change.”
Luca Zaia, governor of the Veneto region, said the city was “on its knees” as he described a scene of “apocalyptic devastation”. “The art, the basilica, the shops and the homes, a disaster … Venice is bracing itself for the next high tide.”
Heavy rains coinciding with a full moon brought high tides that were pushed onshore. Venice sits on wooden piles driven into the mud among a system of canals. Rising sea levels and heavy cruise ship traffic have eroded surrounding marshes and mudbanks, causing the city to gradually sink.
The high tides this week have washed over seawalls and ripped gondolas and other boats from their moorings, including three barges that sank, according to Italian news agency ANSA. Photos showed residents and tourists alike trudging through knee-deep floodwaters on Wednesday.
- St. Mark’s Square
- St. Mark’s Basilica
- Banksy’s ‘shipwrecked girl’ mural. Banksy’s migrant child mural submerged in high water.
- Gritti Palace. A flooded room in the flooded Gritti Palace.
- Libreria Acqua Alta.
- Grand Canal.
- Doge’s Palace.
A major water-traffic corridor, the Grand Canal is one of the more recognizable landmarks, winding its way past Doge’s Palace, the Royal Gardens and the Rialto Bridge. The combination of a full moon and strong, so-called sirocco winds have pushed seawater higher in the city’s canals, trapping it as the tides continue to rise. Ferryboats and gondolas have been overturned as many of the new flood barriers designed to protect the ever-sinking city have been overrun
Mayor Brugnaro estimated the cost of damages at several hundred million euros. “We are not just talking about calculating the damages, but of the very future of the city’”, Brugnaro reportedly said. “The water got into the basilica, it flooded the floor, broke windows and entered the crypt. It is dangerous, not so much because of what is contained in there, but because the water could have caused problems for the columns that hold up the basilica.”
Brugnaro, who blamed climate change for the “dramatic situation,” called for speedy completion of a long-delayed project to construct offshore barriers. The moveable undersea barriers called “Moses” are meant to limit flooding.
At St. Mark’s, water flowed through windows and into the crypt beneath. There are worries that the structure could be damaged. “We came within a whisker of the apocalypse,” Pierpaolo Campostrini, a member of St. Mark’s management board, reportedly stated.
Italy’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, said no damage had been reported to art collections in museums throughout the city but many sites still remained closed to tourists, and La Fenice canceled concerts Wednesday and Thursday evening. Damage throughout the city included five ferries that serve as water buses that were left strewn on walkways and near bridges of the city’s canals.
Tourists were forced to drag their suitcases through flooded areas such as St. Mark’s Square after officials removed walkways to prevent them from drifting away. Wooden boards that shop and hotel owners have placed on doors in previous floods couldn’t hold back the water.
The project, which has been opposed by environmentalists concerned about damaging the delicate lagoon ecosystem, has been delayed by cost overruns and corruption scandals, with no launch date in sight.
Venice Italy Cruise Ship Terminal – Venice has been ranked the most beautiful city in the world as of 2016. The city is facing some major challenges, however, including financial difficulties, erosion, pollution, subsidence, an excessive number of tourists in peak periods and problems caused by oversized cruise ships sailing close to the banks of the historical city.
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Video: Venice’s St. Mark’s square closed as state of emergency declared