Venice mayor Luigi Brugraro has declared a state of disaster after the lagoon city in northern Italy was hit by the second highest tide in more than 50 years.
The tide, which peaked at 187 cm at 22.50 on the night of 12 November, submerged St Mark’s Square by more than one meter of water. The tide also flooded St Mark’s Basilica for only the sixth time in 1,200 years – according to Reuters – with four of those floods occurring in the last 20 years.
A flood barrier was designed in 1984 to protect Venice from the kind of high tides that hit the city on Tuesday, but the multi-billion euro project, known as Mose, has been plagued by corruption scandals and is still not operative.
Brugnaro said the basilica had suffered “grave damage,” but no details were available on the state of its mainly Byzantine interior, famous for its rich mosaics.
“Venice is on its knees.. the art, the basilica, the shops and the homes, a disaster.. The city is bracing itself for the next high tide,”…