Fifty years ago, Venice experienced the highest acqua alta (high water) in history. Today the city remembers. Throughout the day today on Facebook and other social media, numerous old photos were posted, calling attention to a day no living Venetian will ever forget.
I took a walk through St. Mark's square this morning, specifically to hunt for high water markings.
The blue line added to the shop window marks the water level on November 4, 1966. Shockingly high, isn't it? I have witnessed unusually high water during my time here in the city, but nothing quite this height.
This mark, on the side of the bell tower in the square, permanently records the water level on that date. I have no idea why I didn't frame this shot better, so you could see how high off the ground this actually is. I was intent on getting a good view of the marker. Next time you are in St. Mark's square, try to locate it so you see the height for yourself.
Fifty years ago today, water changed the course of Venetians lives. And ever since then, the city struggles with how to cope with the increasing levels of water it experiences as global warming adds to both the height of the tides and also the number of occurrences of acqua alta every season.
As someone who fell under Venice's seductive spell, I have always found acqua alta to be an integral part of everything this city is. It just wouldn't be Venice without water- and that includes the rising tides. I fell in love and have been having this crazy ongoing love affair with Venice. Just like having any lover, you accept the good with the bad. High water is both fascinating and frustrating, mysterious and maddening.
This is the vaporetto dock at Sant'Elena on November 4, 1966
A gondola ride - in St. Mark's square?
At Campo San Salvador