Posts Tagged ‘lagoon’

A Venice Adventure 2001, Part 1

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The first time my husband and I flew to Venice during the winter, we landed in driving, wet snow—a rare weather phenomenon in that city. That was ten years ago, the day after Carnivale, February 2001. By the time we had crossed the lagoon in the Alalaguna water bus, it was hard to see much through the fog and snow, which by then had changed and was falling in thick, fat flakes and beginning to stick. The first stop, after passing the islands of Murano and San Michel, was at Venice’s Fondamente Nove. From there we continued to circle the city until we reached San Marco, where we disembarked.

Venice in the Rain

We pulled our bags through slush and puddles, over a bridge, through a narrow street, through Campo San Moisé, toward our hotel. We slogged past portable platforms stacked along the sides of the streets and in the open squares. These were walkways to provide pedestrians a dry surface over the acqua alta, though flooding was not immediately evident upon our arrival. The boardwalks had not been in evidence on our first, summer-time, visit to the city almost thirteen years before.

Moroccan vendors tried to display their wares from the minimal protection of recessed doorways. We didn’t pause to browse but continued on our way to the hotel.

Over the hotel desk was a print of a Venier painting showing Piazza San Marco with a 15th Century style ship in the lagoon. In the depiction, a man lounged comfortably on a flight of steps that led down to the water. … It was horrifying to realize what a serious change has occurred in only a few hundred years; those steps were all under water now. We had heard reports of the city’s sinking, of course, but it was shocking to see the evidence for ourselves.

Yet Venetians appeared to be facing the problem with optimism. Construction was underway throughout the city—an ongoing procedure, with the continual need for structural as well as cosmetic repair. I was interested to note that most of it was covered with protective sheathing to mask the mess of construction from the general view. Along the Grand Canal, some of the hangings were even painted with trompe l’oeil to simulate the façades they covered.

If you enjoyed reading this account, you’ll want to watch for Part 2 later this month.