AGAIN VENICE FIGHTS ITS WORST FLOODING IN 53 YEARS, THANKS TO STRONG WINDS & HIGH TIDES

<ABOVE – NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC & GETTY IMAGES> VENICE is a city that’s been sinking almost from the time it was built. It’s been named aqua alta, or high water, with good reason especially in November and December when seasonal winds drive strong tides up canals, through drains, and into the streets.  Second only to 1966 when high tides reached levels of 6 feet, and in 2019 three-quarters of this one-of-a-kind city was submerged by powerful storms.<ABOVE – Wading through the flood waters – REUTERS>. Venetian leaders have been working on a plan since 2013 to save Venice. (MOSE MOdulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico), the project, is a system of mobile gates meant to protect the city and lagoon from extreme tides. The gates were supposed to be finished by 2011, but some officials are predicting they won’t be done for another three years. Unfortunately, Mother Nature won’t wait.<ABOVE – St. Mark’s Basilica flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years, REUTERS><ABOVE – November 2019, a tipped boat. This year, 2020, three water buses sank, but tourists kept up their sightseeing as best they could. – REUTERS><VENICE – AS I REMEMBER IT.>

GHISLAINE MILORD SENT US A PHOTO OF “A MOUTH OF TRUTH” – AN ANCIENT VENETIAN ‘SNITCH BOX’

A few of them still exist today. This one, photographed by Ghislaine Milord, a Newfoundlander who knows Venice top to bottom, writes “this box is at the Zattere vaporetto stop.”

Embedded in the walls of key justice, civic or church buildings across the city, the bocche di leone (Mouth of the Lion) look like ornate letterboxes. Typically carved with the open-mouthed faces of the emblematic lion of VENICE, the slots were intended for the use of ordinary citizens and subjects.

Residents in the 1300’s would have seen them springing up all over the place as every district had one. But this was not a mail service. It cost nothing to post your letter and there could only be one destination: the Council of Ten.  Upstanding residents, and not-so upstanding ones too, were encouraged to bring criminal, unsanitary, immoral or treasonous matters to the state’s attention by writing letters to the Council.  For details on the Mouth of Truth, as well as the justice system of ancient VENICE & ITALY in general, check out this great website – L’Italo Americano at – https://italoamericano.org/story/2017-11-16/venice-mouth-truth

“SOJOURN IN VENICE” BY TANEREDI (1927-64) SUMS UP THE ENERGY & CULTURE OF A TOTALLY UNIQUE CITY

<‘Sojourn in Venice’ by Taneredi, 1955, oil on hardboard, Ca’Rezzonico Museum>

Having taken 350 photos of VENICE in a few days, there’s no room for all of them. Below you’ll find a few.

<The RIALTO BRIDGE above>

This floater is one of the most expensive luxury yachts in the world. Try $180,000,000 on for size. Owned by billionaire heiress HEIDI HORTON, the Carinthia VII was built at the Lurssen yard in 2002 and had a refit 3 years later. She sails under the flag of Austria and is named after Austria’s Carinthia region.  Mrs. Horten and her late husband have owned several other large yachts, all named Carinthia. Presently, home base is VENICE. <PHOTO – Ross Winter>

<Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (or St. Mary of Health) – above, faces toward St. Mark’s Basin>The city is much larger than I remembered & early March is a good time to visit – few tourists, easy admission to museums, efficient public transport, food is average and expensive, pizza is pizza, museum & transit passes may be worth while, back streets are an explorer’s delight, not much night life unless you drink, after dark many restaurants shut down.  Venetians dress smartly, there are churches everywhere, and if your room faces a major canal, remember it’s a busy thoroughfare & boats have horns.  <PHOTO – Murano Piazza, Christmas tree and tower>

<On the way back to Venice on Vaporetto #2 from Murano, an island that specializes in glass art.>They’re efficient, noisy and quick – the Vaporetto is an important part of Venice’s public transit system.

<The Doge; his palace has long lineups even in off-peak months. Doges of Venice were elected for life by the city-state‘s aristocracy.>

<“CHANGING PLACE, CHANGING TIME, CHANGING THOUGHTS, CHANGING FUTURE”, courtyard of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum on the Grand Canal>

<Even public utilities have a certain artistic style in Venice>    <PHOTO ABOVE by Ross Winter, St. Mark’s Square – a must visit>