August 7, 2020

The heritage of Venice, endangered by floods | Culture

Interior of the Basilica of San Marcos. In the video: Images of the floods in Venice (ATLAS)

In the middle of the waves, San Marcos breathes relief. They say that, for the moment, the church has been saved, although by a hair. "We have been just one step away from the apocalypse," Pierpaolo Campostrini, the procurator responsible for the basilica, assured the Ansa agency this morning. Beyond his taste for poetry, the statement testifies about all the risk facing the most famous monument in Venice, affected in the last hours, like the entire city and its inhabitants, by the worst flood since 1966. "The water entered the basilica, He flattered the pavement and, breaking the windows, went to the crypt and submerged it. The main danger does not have so much to do with what is inside, but rather that the tide could have created stability problems to the columns that support San Marcos, "Campostrini added.

On October 29 of last year, after the tide reached levels of 156 and 148 centimeters above sea level on the same day, Campostrini said, as it includes Il Corriere de la Sera: "It's as if San Marcos had aged 20 years in 24 hours." Anyone can estimate the severity of the current situation knowing that, this time, the waves have touched 187 centimeters in the city. In the church's atrium, specifically, the invasion of salt water has reached heights of 120 centimeters and has come into contact with marbles and mosaics. "They are hidden damages: the water evaporates and leaves, but the salt stays inside," Campostrini explained. And he has taken the opportunity to reclaim the at least 2.7 million euros he asked the Government a year ago. Last April, an intervention improved the resistance of the basilica to the threat of water but, before such a high and violent tide, it was not enough.

Interior of San Marcos.

Interior of San Marcos. Getty Images

Although the main artistic concerns focus on San Marcos, there are more cultural venues and monuments in danger, also because of the strong and repeated gusts of wind. "It is impossible for now to quantify the damage to the heritage of Venice, but the situation is extremely complex and worrying," said Salvo Nastasi, secretary general of the Ministry of Cultural Property and Tourism. Water overcame, for example, the resistance of the Partigian, that lay right on a shore, near the Biennial Gardens. He opposed the fury of fascism, but has not been able to with the impetus of the waves, which have literally taken ahead of the bronze statue that Augusto Murer made in 1961. The sculpture portrays the body of a deceased woman with tied hands, which pays tribute to all partisan fighters of Italy during World War II. “In its place now there is a hole and it will have to be recovered in the water,” he reports Il Corriere de la Sera.

In St. Mark's Square, the Ducal Palace remains closed today, as is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, located in the Venier dei Leoni Palace, on the Grand Canal. The reason, as it says on its website, is evident: "high acqua"This is what Venetians usually call the most aggressive tides, like the one 53 years ago reached historical marks of 194 centimeters above sea level. For the same reason, the International Art Biennial has warned on its website that it will not open its exhibition to the public. The organization does confirm some meetings and parallel activities.

The museum of Ca’Pesaro, headquarters of the International Gallery of Modern Art of the city, has suffered a fire that has already been extinguished, although it has caused the partial collapse of a loft on its ground floor. Water has not affected instead According to the first information, the structure and the main hall of the Teatro de La Fenice, although it has invaded its service areas. The power grid has become unusable and has been deactivated, as has the fire protection system. The superintendent of the Teatro La Fenice Foundation in Venice, Fortunato Ortombina, has assured Ansa: "We are working to fix everything that is useless." The person in charge has also reported that today's trials have been suspended from Don Carlo, the opera by Giuseppe Verdi with which the lyric season is scheduled to open on November 24. Ortombina has defended in any case that the theater has before it a "challenge": keep its release date. Against winds and tides, of the real ones.

(tagsToTranslate) heritage (t) venice (t) danger (t) flood (t) basilica (t) san marcos (t) dodge (t) apocalypse (t) responsible (t) museum (t) art (t) modern (t) suffer (t) fire (t) biennial (t) close (t) public

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