Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Now, What News on the Rialto?

Venice is underwater. Or, at least it was, for a short time yesterday.
Venice has long had a problem with rising waters. There are two plans in the works to alleviate this problem. The first is to lay a series of 79 inflatable pontoons across the sea bed at the three entrances to the lagoon. When tides are predicted to rise above 43 inches, the pontoons will be filled with air and block the incoming water from the Adriatic sea. This engineering work is due to be completed by 2011. The other idea is to physically lift the city to a greater height above sea level, by pumping water into the soil underneath the city. Neither idea is without controversy, however. The pontoons idea is a temporary measure at best while the raising of the city is a permanent fix. Nevertheless, the debate rages on.
Venice stretches across 118 small islands in the Venetian lagoon along the Adriatic sea in northeast Italy. Once a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Venice's influence in the region waned after the 17th century. At the height of its power there is a painting by Tiepolo that show Venice receiving the gifts of the sea from Neptune.

I am fortunate enough to have an intimate knowledge of Venice and I lament its plight.
The picture above is of St. Mark's Square. Katie and I have walked through this square and stood where this picture was taken from. To the right (out of the shot) is Caffe Florian, which opened on Dec.29th, 1720. It has been known as a meeting place for artists, poets, writers and politicians. It is an expensive place, but as we drank our tea and coffee we were serenaded by a five piece orchestra and served on a silver platter (literally) with a silver tea service and by a waiter in a tuxedo. The people watching here is fantastic.
And the art. Oh, my goodness - the art. You can walk anywhere in the city and see magnificent pieces of art and architecture. Since automobiles are not allowed within the city there is no choice but to walk or take a gondola. Either way, the views are breathtaking.
Venice is a beautiful city, divided into six neighborhoods. They are Cannaregio, San Polo, Dorsoduro (including the Giudecca), Santa Croce, San Marco (including San Giorgio Maggiore), and Castello (including San Pietro di Castello and Sant'Elena). Eminently walkable, it boasts an allure that is unparalleled in the ancient or modern world.
I loved Venice. I am saddened to see the city so threatened and I am hopeful that she will someday permanently rise above the floodwater.
Venice is a treasure; one that should not be given back to Neptune.


Blogger Fox In Detox said...

I guess I better get a move on if I'm ever going to see it! I don't want to have to scuba dive to see that painting.

12:00 PM, December 03, 2008  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Venice needs to take a page from Boston's Back Bay.

I've been to Venice only once, but I enjoyed it immensely--enough to want to see it again.

7:55 PM, December 03, 2008  
Blogger 1st Lady said...

I must look out my cow print wellies and visit there sometime.

4:26 AM, December 10, 2008  

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