‘The Pearl of the Adriatic is on its knees,’ says Venice mayor, Luigi Brugnaro. Here’s all you need to know about the devastating floods in the Italian city. By Ritika Dixit
The city of Venice is suffering from its third major flooding in less than a week with the monumental acqua alta or high water dangerously close to surpassing the former 1966 record. Following strong winds and storms due to safety concerns, a state of emergency has been declared in the city and the major tourist attraction — St. Mark’s Square has been shut. Warnings have also been raised for cities like Florence and Pisa. The churches, shops and homes in the city have also been inundated as forecasters have predicted further rise in water levels.
With more than 80 per cent of the city submerged underwater with tides as high as 1.87m (6 ft), the Prime Minister of Italy, Giuseppe Conte has described the recent flooding as “a blow to the heart of our country.” The city of Venice — a world UNESCO heritage site — is home to some timeless works of art by masters of Italian Renaissance like Tintoretto, Giorgione and Titian. The city is also home to about 50,000 residents and numerous unforgettable basilicas. These floods have led to damages in more than half a dozen heritage sites, including chipped and missing parts of marble on the floors of ancient St. Mark’s Basilica.
Experts suggest that climate change may be partly to blame as the most serious flooding in Venice’s history coincides with the changing global weather patterns linked to global warming. Tourists in Venice are suggested to exercise caution and consideration towards the city and its residents while travelling here.
The need of the hour in Venice is not day trippers, but instead tourists who will spend their time and money in the local businesses of the city, in turn helping them earn money when the city is ready to get back on its feet.