Friday, January 1, 2010

Aqua Alta

Venice is sinking. It was in the news right before we got there, for terrible flooding in early December, and also the day we left. The morning we set off for Slovenia, we watched the closest canal come creeping up the alley toward our gate, wondering what would happen. When we arrived in Slovenia that night, Venice was being featured on television. In between, we witnessed "aqua alta" three times. It was usually just in the morning, and receded by 10:00 am, roughly 12 hours after the sirens went off the night before. When the warning sounds, stores all around the city make sure their merchandise is hoisted, and city workers spring into action, laying walkways around the flooded areas. It' a remarkably efficient system; I was in awe of how light-hearted shop owners were as they mopped out their stores EVERY morning, conversing with their neighbors as if it were normal. More and more lately, it is. Just part of the peril of living in a city built on water.

The flooding spares no one, not even designer boutiques.

You can see the various drawers that this woman had pulled out the night before. Most stores had a hidden drain near the front door (under the entrance tiles) and many also used a small dam in front of their door to prevent the water from coming in.

This is in San Marco, outside of Florian's, the oldest cafe in the city.


After. Every time the sirens go off, these dummies come down for the night.

Piazza San Marco. Residents know to have a pair of rubber boots handy.

But walkways are constructed for tourists.


Anonymous said...

what coverage you've given us. the photos are a still life documentary. with you, i'm inspired by the citizen's matter-of-fact response to the upheaval, and the comment accompanying the shot with the mannequins was gently amusing at a good point in the series. thank you. jm

Anonymous said...

We read about the flooding in Venice in the Philadelphia Inquiry on Dec. 23, the first night when we were in New Jersey. Good pictures.
Happy New Years to Betsy and you.
Dad and Marilyn