The historic city of Venice is iconic thanks, in part, to the numerous canals and the beautiful Venetian Lagoon that is nearby. However, the less popular reason Venice is so widely known is because it is a city that has seen constant flooding, and purportedly sinks a few centimeters deeper into the water every day.
Fortunately, the government has taken steps to combat the flooding, specifically the acqua alta, which is the yearly seasonal flooding that hits Venice. This year, the government installed MOSE, the Italian version of the name Moses. What exactly is MOSE? To put it simply, it’s a series of flood gates, which are meant to hold back the seasonal flooding and to keep the city high and dry — well, at least as high and dry as it currently is.
Raise the roof (and anything else…)
Every year, many Venetian citizens are forced to move furniture and other valuables when they hear the tell-tell whine of the siren, a warning of
imminent flooding. During flooding, water can rise by up to a meter, turning once warm and dry spots into knee deep soak zones.
This year, though, one individual chose not to move his stuff. Sebastian Fagarazzi, a long time Venetian, felt confident that MOSE would hold back the flood waters this year. Previous years, such as 2019, have seen the city facing increasing devastation in the wake of consequences of climate change. On November 12, 2019, a 190 cm (74 in) flood hit Venice, and over 90% of the city was flooded.
The good news, though? MOSE came to the rescue this year, and there’s hope it’ll deliver again in the future. While Fagarazzi didn’t face a 190 centimeter flood, he did face a 135 cm (53 in) flood. And areas of the city that would normally be flooded or inaccessible were only slightly damp, or were dry altogether.
Long awaited deliverance
While it may seem like a wonderful development for those outside the city, MOSE has been something that Venetians have been faithfully waiting on for quite some time. Indeed, some thought the day would never come. MOSE had been in planning since 1984, but corruption and delays beset the project.
Now, with one success under his belt, MOSE stands tall, and officials are already looking to put him to the test in rougher weather. If he proves successful again, the city is already creating ways they can firm up areas of MOSE, where he can be improved or expanded upon. MOSE’s actions on October 3 have already earned him recognition from local priest, don Paolo Bellio, during a recent sermon.
And if MOSE keeps up the good work, he could give his namesake some competition for who can best control the floods.