Vulnerability of Venice exposed by devastating series of floods


Record-breaking floods are taking their toll on Venice amid calls to preserve the city from the ravages of problems such as climate change.

The lagoon-based city has experienced a population decline even if its canals and historic buildings still make it a magnet for tourists.

One of only four oar makers for Venice’s famed gondoliers, Paolo Brandolisio, whose ground-floor workshop has been inundated for the third time in a week of record-breaking floods, is just one resident despairing of any help from national or local institutions.

“If these phenomena continue to repeat themselves, you have to think about how to defend yourself,” he said.

“Because the defences that the politicians have made don’t seem to be nearly enough.”

Paolo Brandolisio stands in his flooded oars laboratory

“You have to think of yourself,” he repeated.

Venetians are fed up with what they see as inadequate responses to the city’s mounting problems: record-breaking flooding, environmental and safety threats from cruise ship traffic and the burden on services from over-tourism.

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