November, 1966: Imagine Venice immersed practically 100 % by more than 3 meters of water!
This time everybody was very afraid, the end of Venice! Venice sank and at the same time the poetry of Lord Byron: “Ode on Venice” once again surfaced:
“Oh Venice! Venice! when thy marble walls
Are level with the waters, there shall be
A cry of nations o'er thy sunken halls,
A loud lament along the sweeping sea!
If I, a northern wanderer, weep for thee”
But truly, Acqua Alta has nothing to do with “the sinking” of Venice, which certainly is existent but in the amount of less than a millimeter a year.
Certainly, over last century, Venice sank about 10 centimeters, due to industrial groundwater extraction but largely stopped when artesian wells on the mainland were capped in the 1960s.
Then it is what? Acqua Alta occurs when certain events coincide; the high tide forms an alliance with low pressures and that their windy friend, Sirocco, participates with our friend the Moon. These elements together trigger the across-the-board flood of waters of the lagoon in Venice.
But it would seem especially that the digging of fairways passing in front of Venice and linking up the sea with the industrial harbor of Marghera would interrupt business. In effect, in the pastn water was winding longer before arriving at Venice and being able to immerse it.
And, by these new enlarged and in-depth ways of water, true "freeways" to Acqua Alta were so created. Indeed, where water would barely have had the time to touch lightly the edge of quays before leaving with the low tide, they attend more frequent phenomena of Acqua Alta today because water can arrive faster to Venice. Today, they can count up to fifty Acqua Alta a year!
History is true and arrived at Igor Stravinsky the Acqua Alta had been then so high as the compositor could no longer return to his hotel. The concierge of aforementioned hotel Bauer, took Igor Stravinsky in his arms and carried him indoors. It was after this Acqua Alta that Igor Stravinsky writes “The Flood”!
The biggest problems Acqua Alta poses, at most some centimeters of water in calli which gives them a glistening aspect, is getting the cameras quickly!
Besides, you will be warned in case of serious Acqua Alta. Sirens (which still date to the last world war), will shout a warning signal. If you are surprised in city without boots, the dealers will be delighted to give you plastic bags for makeshift boots to make waiting better!
The period at risk is from September 15th till April 15th every year. If you think to visit at this time of the year, it is best to be prepared with a pair of rubber boots and enjoy the pleasure, as the children, of walking in the puddles!
It is a big “Pharaonic” plan of installation of seawalls to try to check the phenomena of Acqua Alta by installing in the entries of the lagoon (in the channels of Lido, Malamocco and Chiogga) 78 floating seawalls on about 1600 meters and divided in four chunks with huge hatches that can close up or open according to the whims of the tide.
The plan has just been called into question in June, 2006 by a negative vote of the Town council of Venice which asks the Italian State to review the copy of plan, that is estimated at the trifle of... 3,5 billion euro more about 35 million euro of expense of annual maintenance.
of Venice flood planes in Venice - Acqua Alta Levels Predictions
The Map of the wooden Gateways that the City installs to allow you to frolic in the middle of streams.
This site allows you to determine your route “dry” during an Acqua Alta.