St. Mark’s Basilica and Other Venice Attractions Badly Affected By Intense Floods
If you were thinking of visiting the Italian city of Venice any time soon, you better have your flights rebooked. Best known for its scenic canals and gondola rides, 85 percent of the historic city experienced severe flooding on Tuesday night, according to The Guardian. This is the overnight result of heavy rain and strong winds pushing the water onshore. While floods are a common occurrence in the city, this event, however, is more intense than usual. Officials are calling it the second-worst flood since 1923, as waters went as high as 74 inches, or 6.167 feet. So far, two people have reportedly lost their lives. This incidence is just behind the 1966 flood that the city and its residents suffered from at a recorded 1.94 meters.
Several hours ago, Italy declared a state of emergency in Venice and the government has come to an agreement to allot $21.7 million as an immediate aid fund.
The rest of the city is experiencing hard times and is gearing for succeeding deluges in the coming days. “Venice is on its knees,” Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted. “The Basilica of St. Mark’s has suffered serious damage like the entire city and the islands.” The public official has been very vocal about the situation online and posts updates every other hour. His tweets would usually feature photos of the damage the rains have caused and locals walking knee-deep waters across the lagoon city.
Ho appena firmato ordinanza sospensione attività didattica in tutte le scuole di #Venezia anche domani 14/11— Luigi Brugnaro (@LuigiBrugnaro) November 13, 2019
Grazie a tutti: docenti, educatrici, personale tecnico, amministrativo, ausiliario che sono al lavoro per renderle nuovamente agibili e pulitehttps://t.co/YJtqrWY2Na pic.twitter.com/lHjc8jtBL2
Sarà una lunga notte. L'acqua alta inizia a scendere. La paura di qualche ora fa ora lascia spazio alla conta dei primi danni. Una marea a 187 cm è una ferita che lascia segni indelebili. Adesso il governo deve ascoltare #Venezia pic.twitter.com/bRIxKwm8vn— Luigi Brugnaro (@LuigiBrugnaro) November 12, 2019
From north to south Italy has been impacted by a series of extreme climate events. What's happening in #Venice is a powerful example.This is not just "bad weather",this is #ClimateEmergency & needs bold actions,not useless words. #NonChiamateloMaltempo #Venezia #AcquaAltaAVenezia pic.twitter.com/pEdgHbFFeg— Greenpeace Italia (@Greenpeace_ITA) November 13, 2019
One of the city’s cultural attractions, St, Mark’s Basilica, has been badly affected by the natural calamity. For the second time in its history, floodwaters have submerged the crypt and there is collective fear that its mosaics and other priceless artifacts have been irreparably damaged. The flooding on Tuesday night was its fourth occurrence in the last 20 years, with the last incident in 2018 leaving the site with an estimated $2.4 million worth of damages.
It is hearbreaking to see the majestic St Mark’s basilica in Venice flooded. This happened only six time in 1,200 years – four in the last two decades. We can not stay quiet on the climate crisis and we have to recognise it as the defining issue of our lifetimes. #veniceflood pic.twitter.com/p6SL5Vq9Re— Domenico Menduni (@d_menduni) November 14, 2019
St Mark's Square - one of the lowest parts of the city - was one of the worst hit areas. St Mark's Basilica was flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years, according to church records (picture: AFP) pic.twitter.com/QEAp4BKZLt— BBC Newsbeat (@BBCNewsbeat) November 13, 2019
“The damage we see now is nothing compared to that within the walls,” the basilica’s first procurator Carlo Alberto Tesserin tells the AFP. “The salt enters the marble, the bricks, everywhere.” He adds that they were warned by experts but nobody paid attention or took action.
Other affected tourists attractions include St. Mark's Square, the Gritti Palace, the Grand Canal, and Doge's Palace.
The flood has also taken a toll on the Venice Biennale, which has been shut down for the time being. Two main exhibitions closed on November 13, but reopened again the day after.