Going, going, gondola: sinking Venice fears it’s the new Atlantis
Worst floods in decades stir deep concerns about rising sea levels in a city on the climate change front line
For more than 1,000 years it was an independent trading republic known as La Serenissima, but there was nothing very serene about Venice last week.
On Wednesday the city was inundated by the highest tide since 1966, a 1.87m flood that damaged the iconic Byzantine basilica, swamped St Mark’s Square, dumped a tide of debris in narrow alleyways, and poured murky brown water into shops, hotels and homes.
On Friday the water came back with a vengeance. As eerie flood warning sirens wailed over the city, another high tide struck, raising the level of the lagoon 1.6m and again leaving much of it underwater. Venetians and visitors sloshed through flooded alleyways and piazzas in rubber boots as the water in some places reached up to their waists...