Venice endured another massive high tide on Friday, offering no break to the Italian city as it continued to reel from its worse flooding in five decades. News of the unrelenting tides came after more than 85 percent of Venice was submerged Tuesday, according to USA Today. Mayor Luigi Brugnaro had already declared the city to be "on its knees."
The historic floods have impacted notable landmarks throughout the UNESCO World Heritage Site, with Brugnaro telling Reuters that damages total "a billion euros." However, only $20 million euros were reportedly allocated for damages after an initial state of emergency was declared.
"Founded in the 5th century and spread over 118 small islands, Venice became a major maritime power in the 10th century," UNESCO's website says of the Italian city's heritage. "The whole city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the world's greatest artists such as Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, and others."
Water spilled into the thousand-year-old crypt under St. Mark's Basicala, which previously reached at least three feet in height. The site was described as "like a swimming pool." Of particular concern are the dozens of churches throughout the city, which house priceless artifacts.
“The majority of churches in Venice are like museums ... I was so scared for them and all the decoration, like the old benches and 18th-century [works],” Toto Bergam Rossi of Venetian Heritage told AD PRO. “Many of them have ended up underwater.”
Meanwhile, thousands of items at the iconic bookstore Acqua Alta were damaged by water. (Interestingly, the store's name means "High Water" in Italian.) Also hit hard was the luxury hotel Gritti Place. Situated on the city's famed Grand Canal, the historic landmark dates back to 1475.
"Heartbreaking, tragic, historic 50 year flooding in Venice yesterday," interior designer Chuck Chewning wrote Wednesday on his Instagram account. "This is the Gritti Palace we restored in 2013 to prevent against 'acqua alta' but not prepared for historic 187 cm (6’0”) accelerated by growing climate change, which is here, real, and devastating."
Ironically, the Veneto regional council was itself flooded Tuesday, immediately after a measure to combat climate change was rejected by its members.
"The chamber was flooded two minutes after the majority League, Brothers of Italy and Forza Italia parties rejected our amendments to tackle climate change," Democratic Party councilor Andrea Zanoni told CNN.
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