Acqua Alta, 2019

November 19, 2019

This past week in Italy has been filled with stories of great flooding, winds, high tides and loss.  Please note that for this post I have borrowed photos from many sources. I wanted you to see the destruction across La Bel Paese, Italy.

La Serenissima, Venice, was hit with the worst flooding in 50 years.

Here is a sample of the interior of the Gritti Palace, countless thousands of dollars in damage.

St. Mark’s Basilica was flooded with water and sewage.

From the New York Times:

From NBC News:

Underground below St. Mark’s.

Piazza San Marco.

Locals attempting to save whatever they possibly can while 95% of Venice is flooded.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of product were lost from most store and restaurant owners. Personal homes were also damaged severely.

At least 2 people died in Venice from this horrible storm.

From my Facebook Friend Monica Cesarato specializes in Venetian travel and is a local. She expressed this comment moments before being interviewed about the devastation in Venice:

And we have only featured Venice so far.

Matera, the exquisite city in Basilicata, suffered greatly.

Matera is built partially underground. The flooding was horrendous.

The Salento in Puglia was also hit hard.

These are dry streets under normal conditions.

Even Maiori on the Amalfi Coast had high tides.


Inland in Saturnia, the hot springs resort area, the rains overflowed the hot springs into the streets.

The once healing mud covered streets and green spaces. 

Other inland cities have incurred major destruction—Grosetto in the heart of Tuscany, suffered greatly—trees fallen, extensive damage. Both Rome and Naples have also experienced flooding, and a 21-year-old boy was killed. 

And the storm was expected to worsen across my Liguria and other areas of Italy. Overall, there have been at least 6 deaths attributed to this storm. As I write, the Cyclone prediction for this weekend is that it will be strongest from Corsica to Liguria and other northern parts of Italy. I am hoping my beloved Chiavari will ride out the storm with little or no damage.

Through all this turmoil and tragedy, travelers have been stranded in hotel rooms, not allowed off cruise ships, walking in hip high water in Venice and other flooding elsewhere. Of course, they are losing patience. For them, this is their vacation. Many have been angry at locals because their plans could not be completed. I ask all reading this post to try to understand that, even though it is annoying when your travel plans cannot be accomplished, think of the tragedy that these locals are experiencing. They are losing everything. And people have died.

There are many causes for the flooding and high winds. Scirocco winds have come from the south, from the African Continent, while winds from both east and west attacked the country. Unusually high tides in Venice plus the winds, the lack of the Moses gate project functioning (26 years and it still doesn’t work.), and climate change all share in creating this damage. World Heritage Sites, with all their treasures are being destroyed. 

Many have inquired as to how they can help in this troubling time. What locals have said is this: Buy your holiday gifts from Artisan shops from these locales. Support the locals who have lost a fortune instead of shopping Black Friday at the big box shops. Google artisanal shops from all over Italy—order wine, olive oil, arts and crafts, clothing, whatever your family and friends would enjoy. That is the best way to help NOW, TODAY.

Secondly, travel to Italy. Go in 2020. Do not wait. Visit Venice, Grosetto, Matera, Puglia, Liguria (where I live). Spending your money in hotels, B&Bs, local restaurants, and museums, will help to refill the empty coffers of those affected by these storms. And, for your own self-gratification, you will experience the art and architecture that still remains before any more damage occurs. Venice is sinking. The flood gates cannot hold back the water. Most 1st floors have been flooded for years—who knows how it will be in even 5 or 10 years.  Other places such as Matera have surely lost some of their frescoes, their construction. Go now, before the next super storm hits my beloved Italy.  Let me help you plan. 

In the meantime, I hope that you and yours are all well and safe. I wish you all health, happiness and safety in our problematic, changing world. Live each day to the fullest. And plan your travels—I am here for you!

A dopo!

Ciao for now!

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