By Alex Budzynski, Editor-in-Chief
Most tourists spend their days walking at a brisk pace, awestruck by historic monuments, ornate cathedrals, and towering skyscrapers. Their sightseeing is interrupted for one of two things: souvenirs or food. Cheap t-shirts, dinky keychains or warm lattes that are overpriced beyond belief. Now imagine doing all of this while wading through inches of water. That is the current reality for Venetians and hundreds of tourists in the aptly named “City of Water.”
Flooding in The Floating City is nothing new and has, in fact, been happening for hundreds of years. Driven by high tides, the city is often submerged with water from October to January in what is called “acqua alta.” However, rising sea levels have increased the frequency of the flooding that plagues this ancient, sinking city.
Images of the famous St. Mark’s Square surfaced last Friday with several inches of floodwaters reflecting clear blue skies. Despite the flooding, locals and tourists alike were out-and-about, determined to enjoy the city.
Some splashed barefoot, while others donned waterproof shoe coverings while wading through the square. One couple was even photographed being waited on by restaurant staff — not even flooding could ruin their coffee rendezvous.
Other places in the Venice were scattered with makeshift bridges to allow people dry walking passage through the city streets.
Lifelong Venetians have noticed an increase in severity and frequency of flooding.
“Conditions are continuing to worsen since the flooding of November 2019. We therefore have the certainty that in these months, flooding is no longer an occasional phenomenon. It is an everyday occurrence,” St. Mark´s chief caretaker, Carlo Alberto Tesserin, told The Associated Press.
Despite efforts to lessen the impact of severe flooding, climate change continues to be a catalyst for the worsening conditions of the city. The fate of coastal cities like Venice will be on the minds of world leaders and climate experts in the second week of the UN climate Cop26 conference.
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