Finally getting back to this thread after a day away from the computer. I knew there was impressive flooding, but your links, Kerouac & LaGatta, are the first real coverage I've seen on this event. It's sickening to look at all the damage. I wish I had a better sense of how much of Venice is dramatically affected. LaGatta, if you wish, you could stick your first link here, although maybe that's overkill.
It would be interesting to know how the millions of tourists in the past couple of decades have accelerated the sinking of the city, which is after all built on piles sunk into the ground. Thus making high tides even higher with respect to the city ground level.
Last time I was in Venice (1985!), I listened in to a tour guide in St Mark's explaining that originally the basilica was built only for the doge. Then when many more people started entering and walking around, the floor in the church was becoming irregular and sinking.
In those days, I didn't even have to stand in line! Although it was November.
The first time I was in Venice was in the 1980s; I was meeting a Venetian friend and getting a very particular tour then and the next day before travelling on to Udine where I was studying at an "Italianist" seminar about border areas; a theme that would become far more popular later on. No, I didn't have to queue for San Marco but we just looked inside. While this friend loved art, he was more intent on giving me a social history tour. He and another friend a bit older had to flee Venice when the Nazis and the most fanatical of the Fascists took over from the regular old Fascists, most of whom disappeared into the woodworks as the tide was turning. He was only 17 at the time. Sadly, he died a few years ago and I never managed to interview him about the particulars of his flight to secure rather precarious refuge in Switzerland. Remember that Austria no longer existed as a separate state; that nasty fellow from Braunau wanted it thoroughly incorporated into the German state, so he couldn't take what would have been the normal route. The refugees weren't particularly welcome in Switzerland. He returned after the war and continued his study, taking degrees in law and defending workers and the townspeople of the "dryland" suburbs that were poisoned by the chemical industries of the area.
Don't imagine the rather unkempt sort of lefty lawyer found in some other cultures; he had a most aristocratic mien, but a pleasant dose of self-derision when a pigeon shat on his beautiful fine-cotton shirt: he spat on the shirt to clean off the worst and said approximately, damn, not another shirt!
That was the period of roundups of Jews and partisans, and summary executions. Even many staunch Fascists resented the German and Austrian Nazis, but some others joined in the "Nazifascists", which sounds like some over-the-top insult but were actually on a terrible killing spree; but also a favoured holiday spot for Nazi officers... There is actually film footage about that but I haven't been able to turn it up recently.
I visited Venice and Trieste again during that spring-summer seminar, as well as bits of Croatia and Slovenia. There were a lot of young soldiers stationed on either side of the border, but there was no real animosity - they were mostly bored. So many Italian boys were terribly coddled and missed having everything done for them. Slovenia is far too pretty a country for the scowling bitch...
The big flood of 1966 or so sticks in my memory because one of my nursing friends left work to go to Venice to help rescue thousands of precious books. Seems that many were kept at floor level and were soaked in mud. The pictures above show the room where Taylor and Burton stayed...and the books are still on the floor level. The flood prevention infrastructure was supposed to be finished by 1987, I wonder whose pocket those funds slipped into?
Travel! Set out and head for pastures new[br] Life tastes the richer when you’ve road worn feet.[br]Ibn Battuta[br]
I just watched the news and there was a clip of Berlusconi visiting Venice. He is not in power so I don't see what he was doing there, but it's a perfect example of waste, paying for security for him and others. And for his extremely obvious Botox treatments and hair dye.