Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Impressions of Venice

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Impressions of Venice

Article excerpt

Impressions of Venice On 4 November 1966, a tidal storm surge of exceptional height and duration completely flooded the city of Venice. The famous St. Mark's Square was covered by over a metre of water, a catastrophe that drew world attention to the growing dangers threatening the site. The Italian authorities immediately set up a Committee for the Safeguard of Venice, and Unesco launched an international campaign to save the city and to study the choices which have to be made if the protection of Venice and its lagoon is to be assured.

The historic city is built for the most part on piles driven into unstable silt in the centre of a crescent-shaped lagoon approximately 50 kilometres long by 10 kilometres wide, separated from the Adriatic Sea by a barrier of narrow islands and peninsulas. Venice has always been subject to flooding from the sea and to the deterioration of its foundations. However, high tides are increasingly frequent and the islands are sinking into the lagoon at a much faster rate than previously. …

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