Wednesday, 3 December 2008

PERLIOUS REALM

Seeing the devastating pictures, yesterday, of the flood waters in Venice was a reminder of the fact that, whilst David and I have never seen the city in quite such a submerged state, we have seen very many days of aqua alta (high tide) during our annual visits...

As some of the following pictures from our archive show, there is something magical about Venice when the distinction between land and water becomes so uncertain but the situation in the city over the past few days (despite the unusual photographic opportunities) is truly perilous...







Images: © Brian Sibley & David Weeks

8 comments:

Boll Weavil said...

This is probably the reason why the Venetians never spend any money on the infastructure ! Even in the relative heat of October there were still flooded areas when I was there. Its a shame but I can only see it getting worse.

ORSARTI A price rise imposed by lucky Venetian restaurants on weary travellers during bad weather when their location means they are able to offer a birds eye view of everyone else being flooded out and walking around in wellies.

Brian Sibley said...

It's not true to suggest that Venice is doing nothing about its fate. A great deal of restoration is constantly underway, streets and squares have been raised and many projects are being discussed to save the city including the Moses Project that (if the finance can be found) could provide Venice's lagoon with an equivalent of the Thames Flood Barrier.

There are many articles on the web and a starting point for anyone interested is the website of the charity, Venice in Peril.

Boll Weavil said...

I wasn't thinking about their fight against the floods - I've known about that since the subliminal messages in 'Don't Look Now'. I was thinking more of their general 'devil may care' attitude to their heritage in everyday life. Just look at the Rialto Bridge, it stinks likes an open toilet, its graffitied upto the eyeballs and has an advertising banner strung from it ! Why ?


Vernidog : A brusque gentleman in a blue and white striped imitation gondolier's shirt who thinks that having a large camera somehow gives him permission to block everyone else's view at the front of the Vaporetto as he boldly and originally becomes the first person ever to take a shot of the Rialto Bridge, from the wrong side.

Brian Sibley said...

Don't know why the Rialto Bridge was stinking on your visit - I've never experienced that: must have been lucky, I guess, or you had a bad experience.

Policing graffitists and other vandals who damage the city is difficult with an average of visitors (in high season) of 200,000 a day.

The advertising banners (which announce art exhibitions in one of the museums - such as you might see hung across the facade of London's Royal Academy) are, unfortunately, a necessary way of raising revenue since Venice - unlike, say, Rome - receives no financial help from the Italian government for the maintenance of its historic buildings, despite the fact that it regarded as being one of the treasures of Italy - arguable (some of us would say) of the world.

Personally, I hope the Venice administration carry through their plan of limiting admittance to the city (which is very small) to 25,000 a day and charging a toll on those visiting.

There are those that argue that this will turn Venice into a 'Disneyland', but it would help control the abuse of the city and its heritage and provide much needed money for restoration and protection of the city.

Boll Weavil said...

I think that would help because there are millons of visitors and someone is getting rich but it doesn't look like any of that money gets back to where it should - the maintenance of the buildings. There is a distinct lack of civic pride which seems echoed by the desire of the inhabitants just to fleece tourists for as much as possible whilst everything is still standing. That seems such a shame to me that such a beautiful place is not more highly regarded.

Rehor : A loud disussion on an oblique subject, about which all parties have diameterically opposing views, carried on at the next table to yours in a very cramped restaurant...in Venice.

jen said...

If Venice IS turned into a 'Disneyland'might we expect another rant from the abbot?!
PRAMO- land based ferry when flooding is in progress....

Brian Sibley said...

BOLL - I think it depends who you meet - we've got to know several residents who have great pride in their city and who are as distressed as some tourists about negative experiences in their city... We are very lucky, we visit at a time of year when there are fewer tourists and the city has been almost entirely returned to the people who actually live there year round...

Guess how many inhabitants Venice has? 60,000 and falling - which is less than a third of the number of tourists who invade the city every day. It is a highly complex situation. One of the best books on the subject is an intelligent, rational study entitled Venice, The Tourist Maze.

JEN - I vote that the production of more Pramos should be undertaken immediately!

David Weeks said...

Well defended Brian!

BOLL WEAVIL: One who delights in tunnelling in order to create a feeling of unease!

SUBLE: A sliding answer to criticism, either actual or implied