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The Story of Vanishing Venice

April 25, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 199

As you take your Venice airport boat towards this marvellous city, you might wish to ponder a little about just how much longer your spectacular views are going to be around.

Back to the sea?

The unique piece of global heritage that is Venice has long been recognised as being under threat. The basic problem is, of course, that the city is reputed to be slipping beneath the waves. Why is that? There are a number of reasons why that might be happening:

  • This is a city built on a combination of marshy islands and, in some cases, piles driven into the bed of the lagoon. The weight of the city and the antiquity of some of the foundations, is leading to severe subsidence in places.
  • Until the relatively recent past, much of the city's water was extracted from wells and the volume of the extraction may have contributed further to the general sinking of the land.
  • The increased volume of very large cruise liner traffic in the lagoon (don't worry - this won't include your Venice airport boat!) may have increased major wash effects and that may have further put foundations at risk.
  • Normal changes in the seabed over time.

So, as you take in the incredible skyline from your Venice airport boat, are you looking at views that aren't going to be around for future generations?

A confusing picture

For many decades, measurements across the city (though the picture varied somewhat by area) showed that major buildings were indeed sinking, and steps were taken to try and prevent further problems. For example, the Italian government is currently engaged in a major piece of engineering to try and reduce the tide flood levels in the lagoon if they rise above a certain level.

There are also other initiatives that are being undertaken, but back in the 1980s there was a strange phenomenon that was noted by some - that the rate of sinking appeared to be reducing and in some cases stopping altogether. At the time, this was hailed as a success for the policy of stopping the use of artesian wells, but, unfortunately, over more recent decades the rate of sinking has been assessed as having started again (if it every truly stopped). To make matters worse, the rate has been assessed as being higher than previously thought and is being accompanied by an axial tilting.

The prognosis

As you might expect, there is far from universal agreement on that. Some Venetians will cynically point out that, according to current projections, the city should virtually have already have sunk beneath the waves! Yet there seems little doubt that the future of the city remains precariously positioned.

So, as you take your Venice airport boat and start to take in the ambiance of this great city, you may want to remember that there may not be too many more generations that will have the opportunity to do so.

Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct. If you're looking for a Venice airport boat, Shuttle Direct provide pre-booked shuttles to major destinations all over Europe. Wherever you travel, Shuttle Direct can make sure that you don't miss your car on your holiday abroad.

Source: EzineArticles
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