US News: Venice floods threaten priceless artwork and history — and a unique way of life - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US News Venice floods threaten priceless artwork and history — and a unique way of life

06:10  18 november  2019
06:10  18 november  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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As historic floods inundated Venice more than a half-century ago, one reader in Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Venice is home to priceless works of art by such Italian Renaissance masters as Tintoretto, Giorgione and Titian; historic basilicas; and a unique way of lagoon-based

Flooding in Venice is not merely an inexpensive inconvenience. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Venice is home to priceless works of art by such Italian Renaissance masters as Tintoretto, Giorgione and Titian; historic basilicas; and a unique way of lagoon-based metropolitan

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

As historic floods inundated Venice more than a half-century ago, one reader in Scotland wrote to the Guardian newspaper in London to express worry about the fate of the “astonishing, but soon-to-vanish” Italian city.

“This is certainly the moment to draw attention not to the cats of Venice but to its buildings, which are slowly but surely disintegrating,” the reader wrote. “Once the ‘pearl of the Adriatic,’ undoubtedly one of the wonders of the world, stucco is now peeling off its palaces. … Will somebody do something quickly?”

Waters Close Over Venice

  Waters Close Over Venice Waters Close Over Venice

As historic floods inundated Venice more than half a century ago, one Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Venice is home to priceless works of art by Italian Renaissance masters like Tintoretto, Giorgioni and Tintian; historic basilicas and a unique way of lagoon-based metropolitan

As historic floods inundated Venice more than half a century ago, one Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Venice is home to priceless works of art by Italian Renaissance masters like Tintoretto, Giorgioni and Tintian; historic basilicas and a unique way of lagoon-based metropolitan.

That letter to the editor was penned in the wake of the record-setting 1966 flood that devastated Venice and cities like Florence and Trento. The unusual mix of high tides and river levels plus powerful winds from the southeast pushed floodwaters to six feet and four inches. Two days later, Venice was “left awash in stinking, salty slime deposited by the Adriatic Sea,” the Associated Press wrote at the time.

a large building with a clock on the side of a river: A general view shows a woman walking across the flooded St. Mark's Square, by St. Mark's Basilica (Rear) on November 15, 2019 in Venice, two days after the city suffered its highest tide in 50 years. — Flood-hit Venice was bracing for another exceptional high tide on November 15, as Italy declared a state of emergency for the UNESCO city where perilous deluges have caused millions of euros worth of damage. © Filippo Monteforte/Afp Via Getty Images A general view shows a woman walking across the flooded St. Mark's Square, by St. Mark's Basilica (Rear) on November 15, 2019 in Venice, two days after the city suffered its highest tide in 50 years. — Flood-hit Venice was bracing for another exceptional high tide on November 15, as Italy declared a state of emergency for the UNESCO city where perilous deluges have caused millions of euros worth of damage.

Earlier this week, Venice faced another monumental “acqua alta,” or “high water,” this time coming just inches shy of the 1966 record. Dispatches from the scene described people tromping around in cheap rain boots as they walk single-file on footbridges elevated over flooded piazzas or wade through knee-high water. An estimated 70 percent of the city was submerged, and Venetians endured another exceptional tide Sunday, the AP reported. 

Flooded Venice had tourists taking selfies and residents in tears

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But flooding in Venice is not merely an inexpensive inconvenience. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Venice is home to priceless works of art by Italian Renaissance masters such as Tintoretto, Giorgione and Titian; historic basilicas and a unique way of lagoon-based metropolitan

Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges.

Flooding in Venice is not merely an inexpensive inconvenience. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Venice is home to priceless works of art by such Italian Renaissance masters as Tintoretto, Giorgione and Titian; historic basilicas; and a unique way of lagoon-based metropolitan living for about 50,000 residents. According to experts, it’s also a sobering preview of how climate change, accelerated by human behavior, will not just complicate Venetians’ unique and fragile way of life but wash it away entirely.

“The disaster that struck Venice is a blow to the heart of our country,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a statement Wednesday. “It hurts to see the city so damaged, its artistic heritage compromised, its commercial activities on its knees.”

Gallery: Venice flooding marks highest tides in 50 years (USA TODAY)

a group of people standing on top of a pier: A man crosses the flooded St. Mark's Square after an exceptional overnight

Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University who has traveled to Venice extensively, warned that if Venice doesn’t complete its already-delayed coastal defense system as sea levels rise, the city will become useless as a place for people to live and to enjoy its cultural splendors.

Venice hit by third exceptional tide in less than a week

  Venice hit by third exceptional tide in less than a week Flooding also hit other parts of Italy on Sunday, including Florence and Pisa.Venetians have endured another exceptional tide in a season that is setting records.

The 1966 Venice flood (Italian: Alluvione di Venezia del 1966) was an unprecedented acqua alta, with waters reaching up to 194 cm. On November 4, 1966, an abnormal occurrence of high tides

“While only one fraternity may have been involved in this particular incident, given recent history , all fraternities must come together with the University community to reflect upon how to prevent recurrence of such Venice floods threaten priceless artwork and history — and a unique way of life .

“The threat is if Venice becomes uninhabitable by normal humans beings. One of the great things about Venice is that real people live there and go about their daily business,” Oppenheimer told The Washington Post on Saturday.

Venice’s population has already been shrinking for years, increasingly driven out by a growing number of high-tide days and the increased living costs and congestion brought on by tourists. But climate change has a way of making the city less accessible for everyone as the very attractions tourists and locals enjoy dissolve, Oppenheimer said.

Water starts coming in as the city awakes, in Venice, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. Venetians are bracing for the prospect of another exceptional tide in a season that is setting new records. Officials are forecasting a 1.6 meter (5 feet, 2 inches) surge Sunday. That comes after Tuesday's 1.87 meter flood, the worst in 53 years, followed by high tide of 1.54 meters on Friday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Water starts coming in as the city awakes, in Venice, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. Venetians are bracing for the prospect of another exceptional tide in a season that is setting new records. Officials are forecasting a 1.6 meter (5 feet, 2 inches) surge Sunday. That comes after Tuesday's 1.87 meter flood, the worst in 53 years, followed by high tide of 1.54 meters on Friday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

More than a half-dozen popular sites were damaged by the latest flood, including the 11th-century St. Mark’s Basilica; the Gritti Palace along Venice’s grand canal, a private residence turned luxury hotel; and the Venetian-Gothic style Doge’s Palace.

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Venice possesses a unique amount of especially valuable wall paintings and frescoes dating back to the Renaissance. Venice floods — in pictures. Acqua Alta. Powerful rainstorms hit northern Italy on November 12. A cyclone threatened the country and an exceptionally high tide reached the city.

Venice has closed St Mark’s Square before the expected third major flooding in less than a week, as rain lashed the rest of Italy and warnings were issued in Arno flooding devastated Renaissance jewel Florence in 1966, killing about 100 people and destroying thousands of priceless works of art .

Workers assessing the damage that the corrosive, salty floodwater had on the ancient marble floors of St. Mark’s Basilica found chipped and missing parts of the marble. There’s also concern about the long-term damage to the pillars supporting the structure — and some of the floods damaged marble that was recently replaced after a round of intense flooding in 2018.

Mario Piana, who heads the restoration, previously told The Post that the church is nearly covered with a mosaic of gold and marble from floor to ceiling, with much of the flooring dating to 1094.

a cake sitting on top of a table next to a fireplace: Workers clean up after high waters flooded the interior of St. Mark's Basilica, in Venice, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. The high-water mark hit 187 centimeters (74 inches) late Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, meaning more than 85% of the city was flooded. The highest level ever recorded was 194 centimeters (76 inches) during infamous flooding in 1966. © Luca Bruno/AP Workers clean up after high waters flooded the interior of St. Mark's Basilica, in Venice, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. The high-water mark hit 187 centimeters (74 inches) late Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, meaning more than 85% of the city was flooded. The highest level ever recorded was 194 centimeters (76 inches) during infamous flooding in 1966.

“I’m worried for the basilica,” Piana said, “The acqua alta does not create immediate, obvious damage. On the outside, you do not immediately see anything. But it is comparable to radiation exposure. In a week, you lose your hair. In a year, you might be dead.”

Elsewhere in Venice, volunteers carefully leafed through pages of centuries-old sheet music that had been soaked by floodwater. The Italian Society of Authors and Editors said Venice’s bookstores and libraries were “gravely damaged,” according to the AP. 

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Venice floods threaten priceless artwork and history - and a unique way of life wapo.st/2KuXpMN.

The artwork depicts a migrant child wearing a life jacket and signaling for help with a neon pink flare. Photographs of the piece on Friday show the child partially submerged in A Banksy artwork depicting a migrant child signaling for help is now partially underwater due to "apocalyptic" flooding in Venice .

“Venice is used to being constantly surrounded by water, but this is really something else,” Toto Bergamo Rossi, director of Venetian Heritage, told CNN. “The main issue is saltwater. When salt permeates the materials of these buildings — be them marble, tiling, plaster or wood — it crystallizes and ascends vertically once the weather gets drier, from the ground to the first floor and so on. It’s almost like a cancer for these structures, all the more so when they are so old. The entire wall system can be affected.” 

A city worker helps a woman who decided to cross St. Mark square on a gangway, in spite of prohibition, in Venice, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. Venetians are bracing for the prospect of another exceptional tide in a season that is setting new records. Officials are forecasting a 1.6 meter (5 feet, 2 inches) surge Sunday. That comes after Tuesday's 1.87 meter flood, the worst in 53 years, followed by high tide of 1.54 meters on Friday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno) © ASSOCIATED PRESS A city worker helps a woman who decided to cross St. Mark square on a gangway, in spite of prohibition, in Venice, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. Venetians are bracing for the prospect of another exceptional tide in a season that is setting new records. Officials are forecasting a 1.6 meter (5 feet, 2 inches) surge Sunday. That comes after Tuesday's 1.87 meter flood, the worst in 53 years, followed by high tide of 1.54 meters on Friday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Venice’s long-term prospects were grim, according to Oppenheimer, who wrote about rising sea levels in a recent U.N. report on climate change. Venice faces the twin threats of rising sea levels — which affect many coastal cities — and a sinking city. The weight of the city itself is compressing the soil below the archipelago, and the underlying base is losing further volume because of residents draining groundwater for drinking, Oppenheimer explained.

“Imagine you’re in a bathtub and you’re gradually lowering your body into the tub as the water level is rising,” he said. “You get covered pretty fast.”

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THE Italian holiday hotspot of Venice is still affected by severe flooding after days of relentless rain caused tides to go up to almost record-breaking levels, forcing Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe More than 85 percent of Venice has been flooded , and a state of emergency was declared on Wednesday.

Venice experienced its highest flooding in a decade, leaving much of the city Mr. Campostrini, the St. Mark’s board member who is working on new ways to keep the water out of the basilica With ancestors that include some of the most powerful figures in Venice ’s history , Mr. Rossi said he now

Venice will see that cycle quickening as time goes on. According to Oppenheimer’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, “extreme sea level events” that recurred once every 100 years will be expected to recur once every six years by 2050. By 2100, that speeds up to once every five months.

A flooded church is seen during a period of seasonal high water in Venice, Italy, November 17, 2019. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri © Thomson Reuters A flooded church is seen during a period of seasonal high water in Venice, Italy, November 17, 2019. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri

“The safest thing to say is, through 2050, climate change and sea-level rise is more or less baked in: What we’re going to get, we’re going to get, and emissions reduction won’t have much of a salutary effect in reducing the amount of sea-level rise,” Oppenheimer said.

After 2050, Venice’s prospects will depend on how much humans have done to put a dent in the carbon emissions speeding climate change.

“When you get beyond that, it starts to make a bigger difference if we have a high-emissions world or a low-emissions world,” he said.

A boat stands inside Arzana gondola museum, which was flooded during high tide in Venice, Italy November 17, 2019. REUTERS/Alberto Lingria © Thomson Reuters A boat stands inside Arzana gondola museum, which was flooded during high tide in Venice, Italy November 17, 2019. REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

Artwork can be moved; marble floors of churches less so. The historical structures could remain a draw for years to come, but Oppenheimer said that, without actual residents, Venice could become a beautiful but empty ancient city.

“What we’d be losing is Venice as a real living place.”


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