We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Living with Aqua Alta

People ask me about Aqua Alta every day.

I find that my explanations of this phenomenon don't seem to do it justice. Unless you experience it yourself, you just can't get the full impact of it.  Where do I begin-- it's magical. There's nothing like it I've ever seen. The water coming up into the streets seems to draw you into it. You have this overwhelming feeling that you want to get in it. Pull off the shoes, roll  up the pants legs, and slosh through it.

But-- I've discovered there's a not-so-fun part of Aqua Alta.  Long after the water has drained back off the streets and we're all back on dry land, the damp left on the ground floor of all the houses is something we have to deal with on a day to day basis.  I'd heard the term "rising damp" used in the Cassanova movie (with Heath Ledger and Jeremy Irons).  Now I know exactly what that means.

Here's a few photos of our foyer walls, and the damage done by "rising damp" after this winter's bout of Aqua Alta. There is no stopping the paint peeling off or the plaster underneath the paint just disintegrating and flaking off onto the floor.

Because we are renters, we don't do the maintenance of the walls in the foyer (ingresso, in Italian) ourselves. We contact our landlord - il Padrone- and let him know the walls are in much needed repair, yes, AGAIN.  He doesn't particularly like having to do this, but he agrees to call his handyman Daniele.  The landlord, who has very little command of English, says to me "Daniele is-a good-a boy".  (Can you just hear him saying that??).  I laugh. I've met Daniele.  Truth be told, Daniele is my age.  Daniele is a nice man. 

Daniele arrived about a week later. He rang the bell, and I went down to show him what needed to be done.  His reaction was something along these lines: " Ey-Yay-Yay!!! ".  He looked closer at the walls, then told me that what was needed was a muratore -- a professional wall guy.  I told him to just do his best. Patch up what he could and we'd be good with it, it was the landlord's problem, not mine. I just wanted the big holes fixed up.  Daniele worked for a few hours, having patched what he could. He rang the bell as he was leaving, to tell me he'd return in a week to paint. 

A week later, Daniele came as planned. The patch work has now been completed.  Grazie, Daniele. We look better, but not perfect. And we're ready for another winter of Aqua Alta. 

Yes, Daniele is-a good-a boy!  


LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Oh my I thought the damp was bad in our house until I read about you living with Aqua Alta.

Sergio De Pinto said...

Nice funny post on everyday life in Venice. Looking forward to experiencing the Aqua Alta for myself in September. Cheers,.