The featured image in this post depicts Piazza San Marcos – better known to us English-speaking types as St. Mark’s Square – in Venice, Italy. Normally, I would put a shot like this into the category of “Travel” – but this time, I instead used the category of “Image of the Week.” How so? Because if you’ve been following world news this week, Venice is currently experiencing severe flooding and not exactly the best place to visit unless you own high rubber boots and want a screaming hotel deal.
Given its location in a shallow lagoon, Venice has always been susceptible to acqua alta (“high water”), usually between the fall and spring, as the result of exceptional tide peaks. This week, however, thanks to the combination of the highest tidewaters in over 50 years and a strong storm system in the Adriatic Sea, flood levels in Venice reached the second-highest level since record-keeping began in 1923. More than 85 percent of Venice was reportedly flooded on Tuesday night, with the water level peaking at 74 inches amid heavy rain. The situation remains bleak because following a very brief respite, abnormally high tides returned today to inundate 70 percent of the city. As reported in the news, Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro has closed all access to the still-submerged St. Mark’s Square and issued an international appeal for funds, warning that the damage caused by this week’s floods could rise to one billion euros.
In drier times, St. Mark’s Square – the main public square in Venice – is a tourist magnet. At its east end sits St. Mark’s Basilica, the city’s most famous church that dates back to the 11th century. While its opulent exterior is free for the viewing, those wanting to see its over-the-top interior, which includes 85,000 square feet of gilded mosaic (enough to cover one and a half football fields), will invariably have to brave a long line. The 323-foot-tall campanile (“bell tower”) is an interesting story. After standing intact for centuries, the original tower developed a dangerous crack in July 1902 and completely collapsed just days later. Amazingly, the only fatality was the caretaker’s pet cat. The tower’s replacement – an exact replica except for necessary structural improvements and an elevator – took 10 years to build.
Thankfully, when partner Carol and I visited Venice this January to greet the new year, the tides and weather were extremely cooperative. Consequently, we’re able to offer a nice selection of Venetian (and other travel) images at our Bainbridge Island gallery, including an excellent assortment of metal prints, canvas prints, custom-framed black-and-white prints, and fine art acrylic prints. If you happen to be on our side of the pond, please stop by as we are only a short walk from the ferry terminal. For gallery hours, please consult our Contact page.
Ciao for now,
Andrew (“Andy”) Bergh