Sunday, November 17, 2019

A Second Extraordinarily High Tide Sweeps In: 17 Views from Today

A very private cruise around the city, wine and snacks included

High tides have rolled into Venice every day for the last week, making clean up of everything damaged in Tuesday's near-record acqua alta of 187 cm difficult, keeping almost all supermarkets in the city closed (as their vast banks of refrigerators were damaged by water), and making thigh-high rubber boats not only an absolute necessity if one wanted to go out in today's fore-casted tide of 160 cm, but literally impossible to find anywhere in the city.

I know because I (along with many others) spent the last two days trying to find a pair.

But today's flooding "only" reached a height of 150 cm, which would have been considered catastrophic before last Tuesday, but was considered a lucky break today--relatively speaking.

(Il Gazzattino reported this morning, before the high tide pictured here rolled in, that this past week marks the first time since 1872 that two high tides greater than 150 cm hit the city in the same year, much less the same week. It was also the first time since 1872 that three high tides of more than 140 hit the city in the same year, much less the same week. And it is only the second time in history, along with 29 October 2018, that two high tides of greater than 140 cm hit the city with a 24 hour period.)

That doesn't mean people were or are happy about the situation. Even those who tried their best to remain, well, buoyant (such as the fellow in the inflatable dinghy with the wine and cheese above), were quick to express their disgust, if not despair. But those are topics for the next post....

All over the city pumps struggled to keep the water level inside buildings lower than that in the streets

It's a rather cruel paradox that when extreme acqua alta extends Venice's ancient sewage system of canals over every inch of the city canines find themselves with no place to relieve themselves

A rough translation of the wood panel: "High tide sweep away all of these things: the theme park, cruise ships, MOSE, all the polluting work boats, fine particle air pollution, the monoculture of tourism, the precarious resident housing situation, gentrification, and the tourist destruction of the city." Aside from "Love and..." I can't make out the other words. The sheet of paper states, sarcastically; "It's not climate change? No!!! Just scirocco [winds]!"

Table service in the knee-high water of Campo San Cassiano

The canals weren't the only things that ranged beyond their banks

Above and below: the proprietors and staff of the Osteria dei Zemei on the Rio Terà San Silvestro try, after a week of being closed due to high water, to make the best of a bad situation

And from my sampling of both the prosecco popped above and their cicchetti, it's a place worth seeking out on those days when you can walk rather than swim to it

On this day the Rialto fish market is better suited for live fish than dead

A gate along the Fondamenta Riva Olio is partially submerged in the Grand Canal

The stone panel of a facade sits in the high tide that has detached it from its wall

A discarded washing machine sits in what might be described as one doozy of a rinse cycle


  1. Replies
    1. Yes, it is, Äiti, especially since the flood barriers that were supposed to prevent such calamities, and which sucked up 6 billion euros were supposed to have been functioning six years ago!

  2. If only we knew it will not happen again...
    But I'm 56 now and have very little hope on Moses or in any other effective way of saving Venice.
    I'm just disappointed by us humans 😡

    1. I think I know exactly what you mean, Jon, I'm disappointed, too, and, well, in spite of trying not to harbor too many naive illusions, still find myself unpleasantly amazed at the depths to which humans can sink. And yet one can only keep trying, as I see a lot of people whom I admire do.