Wednesday, November 01, 2006

40th Anniversary of Great Flood Coming Up

November 4th will be the 40th anniversary of the flood that made people pay attention.

"The trouble began on November 4, 1966, when an extremely high tide swept into Venice and refused to leave. For 15 hours, Venice was inundated by the sea. In historic Saint Mark's Square the water was four feet deep. Luckily, no one was killed. But the place was a disaster zone.

"In a single day, the city and the world were forced to face a harsh reality: Venice was sinking into the sea.

"Today flooding has become a fact of life. Instead of floating above the water, the 15th and 16th century buildings are often filled with it, and the ancient bricks are gradually dissolving away." (From Nova, "The Sinking City of Venice)

I took this photo in November 2002. When I took it, the water in San Marco was knee deep. I couldn't imagine what it looked like under 4 feet of water!

The Nova website, Sinking City of Venice, has lots of information on the flooding problem. You can also read the transcript to their show, "The Sinking City of Venice."

The VENETO INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE, LETTERS AND ART in Campo Santo Stefano is going to hold a conference called, "Is There a Future for Venice? Reflections 40 years after the 1966 flood." It will be on Nov. 2 at 10 AM. Contributors include Ignazio Musu, Gherardo Ortalli, Andrea Rinaldo and Wolfgang Wolters.

Sorry for the late notice, but I just found out about it. If anyone attends, please give us a report.

Information, Veneto Institute of Science, Letters and Art, tel. Web site:

Florence will be remembering a different, deadly flood on November 3. "At 5am on November 3, 1966 the skies over Tuscany opened and poured non-stop for 18 hours, causing an unprecedented artistic, economic and human disaster. The River Arno burst its banks, flooded the city and claimed 29 lives.

Mud and water swamped the museums, churches and libraries of the birthplace of the Renaissance, ruining many great works.

The damage caused was incalculable. But it was a fraction of the devastation the city would have suffered without the efforts of thousands of young volunteers who came from all over Italy and from abroad to save the art treasures and help Florence off its knees." (From

More than 2,000 of those volunteers are scheduled to return to Florence for 100 different events focusing on the flood.

Let's hope these two great cities never face such disasters again!

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