“Streets full of water. Please advise.”

“Streets full of water. Please advise.” is a quote from humourist Robert Benchley’s telegram to the New Yorker magazine after arriving in Venice. Benchley was joking but many people visiting Venice each winter find water where it oughtn’t be.

Following the flood of 4 November 1966 when Venice, Chioggia and the other built-up areas in the lagoon were submerged by a tide of 194 centimetres (76 in), the Venice and Italian autorities declared that safeguarding Venice against flooding was a national priority and by 1975 the Italian authorities had leapt into action and put the project out to competitive tender.

The MOSE flood barriers are part of a General Plan of Interventions to safeguard Venice and the lagoon which commenced in 1987.

“Later this summer the final stages of Venice’s Mose flood barrier project will begin completion as the gates arrive and are inserted into their concrete foundations on the bed of the Venetian lagoon. The gates, which will be situated in the three inlets through which water enters and leaves the lagoon, will be able to be opened and closed separately to control the flow of water and help to control the high tides, or acqua alta, that mire Venice every winter.”

Reported the Guardian in June 2015


Yet Venice has flooded again this year as it does most winters and MOSE is still work in progress.

“These are the effects of climate change…” tweets Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro


Venice Floods November 2012Venice, November 2012Venice Floods October 2012Venice October 2012Venice Floods November 2011Venice, November 2011Venice Floods January 2010Venice, January 2010Venice Floods October 2006Venice, October 2006Venice Floods November 2001Venice, November 2001Venice Floods November 1996Venice, November 1996Venice Floods 1980Venice, 1980Venice Floods February 1974Venice, February 1974Venice Floods March 1964Venice, March 1964Venice Floods December 1933Venice, December 1933Venice Floods November 1927Venice, December 1927


NB – The featured image is the The Piazza di San Marco, Flooded (1825) – Vincenzo Chilone