Over the past week, Venice has been faced with three record-breaking floods, with three separate tides including a peak of 1.87m above usual levels.
Since records were first kept in 1872, the tides had never topped that level twice in a year, let alone three times in one week. There has been concern that the floods will cost approximately 100 million euros, between the damages to almost two out of three Venetian buildings, and the lost tourism revenues.
The floods are the latest sign of the failure of the ‘Project Mose’ that started 2003. Its purpose was to build a series of underwater barricades designed to prevent tides such as these. The project has been ongoing for more than 16 years and has been clouded with allegations of corruption and incompetence rendering the project still incomplete and ineffective.
It comes just weeks after Italy became the first country in the world to announce that all school students would be required to take classes on climate change, and the floods came just minutes after the Venice municipal council resolved to recognise that climate change posed an existential threat to the city, as it fights for its long-term sustainability.
The floods mark a week of natural havoc wreaked on huge parts of Italy. Pisa, Florence and Cecina in nearby Tuscany all faced rivers breaking their banks and flooding through the same week. Matera, Rome and Bologna were also all wrecked by significant storms, causing damage as trees were felled and damaging winds were recorded. The clean-up is expected to be significant over much of Italy, in terms of time and the financial cost.