Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Venice's Geography Problem - Will Venice Become an Underwater City ?

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I did not tell half of what I saw, for I knew I would not be believed.”

Marco Polo Venice - on his deathbed1324


City of Elegance.

It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by

over 400 bridges.

The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between

the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers.

The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th

century BC.

The city was historically the capital of the Republic of Venice for a millennium and more,

from 697 to 1797.

The city-state of Venice is considered to have been the first real international financial

center, emerging in the 9th century and reaching its greatest prominence in the 14th century.

This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history.

Although Venice contains the problems that we will examine, City remains a very popular

tourist destination, a major cultural centre, and has been ranked many times the most beautiful

city in the world.

It has been described by the Times Online as one of Europe's most romantic cities and

by The New York Times as "undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man".

City attracts attention not only with its museums and canals, but with dozens of different

cultural activities organized throughout the year.

For example, the Venice Carnival, which has been celebrated since 1268 and lasted for

40 days, is the continuation of the welcome spring in Pagan culture.

Carnival, banned over time, has been celebrated annually since 1979.

Masks used to eliminate social class distinctions when it was first celebrated are now an icon

for the Venice Carnival.

Of course, every beauty comes with dozens of troubles.

The abundance of trade and wealth brought Venice with deadly outbreaks.

The concept of quarantine, which we often hear these days, is of venetian origin.

The word quarantine comes from quarantena, meaning "forty days", used in the 14th and early 15th

centuries Venetian language and designating the period that all ships were required to be isolated

before passengers and crew could go ashore during the Black Death plague epidemic.

However, a much bigger problem started to hit Venice every year.

Between autumn and early spring, the city is often threatened by flood tides pushing

in from the Adriatic.

Six hundred years ago, Venetians protected themselves from land-based attacks by diverting

all the major rivers flowing into the lagoon and thus preventing sediment from filling

the area around the city.

This created an ever-deeper lagoon environment.

In 1604, to defray the cost of flood relief, Venice introduced what could be considered

the first example of a "stamp tax".

At first, this was to be a temporary tax, but it remained in effect until the fall of

the Republic in 1797.

Shortly after the introduction of the tax, Spain produced similar paper for general taxation

purposes, and the practice spread to other countries.

During the 20th century, when many artesian wells were sunk into the periphery of the

lagoon to draw water for local industry, Venice began to subside.

It was realized that extraction of water from the aquifer was the cause.

The sinking has slowed markedly since artesian wells were banned in the 1960s.

However, the city is still threatened by more frequent low-level floods, that rise to a

height of several centimetres over its quays.

In many old houses, staircases once used to unload goods are now flooded, rendering the

former ground floor uninhabitable.

Studies indicate that the city continues sinking at a relatively slow rate of 12 mm per

annum;therefore, the state of alert has not been revoked.

In May 2003, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi inaugurated the MOSE Project, an

experimental model for evaluating the performance of hollow floatable gates.

The idea is to fix a series of 78 hollow pontoons to the sea bed across the three entrances

to the lagoon.

When tides are predicted to rise above 110 cm, the pontoons will be filled with air,

causing them to float and block the incoming water from the Adriatic Sea.

This engineering work was due to be completed by 2018.

However, the project is still not completed.

A Reuters report stated that the MOSE Project attributed the delay to "corruption scandals".

The project is not guaranteed to be successful and the cost has been very high, with as much

as approximately2 billion of the cost lost to corruption.

According to a spokesman for the FAI: Mose is a pharaonic project that should have

cost800m but will cost at least7bn.

If the barriers are closed at only 90 cm of high water, most of St Mark's will be flooded

anyway; but if closed at very high levels only, then people will wonder at the logic

of spending such sums on something that didn't solve the problem.

Also pressure will come from the cruise ships to keep the gates open.

On 13 November 2019, Venice was flooded when waters peaked at 6 ft, the highest tide since


More than 80% of the city was covered by water, which damaged cultural heritage sites, including

more than 50 churches, leading to tourists cancelling their visits.

The planned flood barrier would have prevented this incident according to various sources,

including Marco Piana, the head of conservation at St Mark's Basilica.

The mayor promised that work on the flood barrier would continue, and the Prime Minister

announced that the government would be accelerating the project.

The city's mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, blamed the floods on climate change.

The chambers of the Regional Council of Veneto began to be flooded around 10 pm, two minutes

after the council rejected a plan to combat global warming.

One of the effects of climate change is sea level rise which causes an increase in frequency

and magnitude of floodings in the city.

A Washington Post report provided a more thorough analysis:

"The sea level has been rising even more rapidly in Venice than in other parts of the world.

At the same time, the city is sinking, the result of tectonic plates shifting below the

Italian coast.

Those factors together, along with the more frequent extreme weather events associated

with climate change, contribute to floods."

Henk Ovink, an expert on flooding, told CNN that, while environmental factors are part

of the problem, "historic floods in Venice are not only a result of the climate crisis

but poor infrastructure and mismanagement".

The problems of the city are not limited to this.

Venice hosts up to 70,000 tourists per day.

Estimates of the annual number of tourists vary from 25 million to 35 million.

This "overtourism" creates overcrowding and environmental problems for Venice's ecosystem.

By 2017, UNESCO was considering the addition of Venice to its "In-Danger" list, which includes

historical ruins in war-torn countries.

To reduce the number of visitors, who are causing irreversible changes in Venice, the

agency supports limiting the number of cruise ships as well as implementing a strategy for

more sustainable tourism.

The famous activist painter Banksy secretly opened an exhibition as he argued that cruise

ships in Venice spoil the beauty of the city.

But he was quickly fired by the police.

Still, the message had gone to the required place.

Just like a prophecy, a ship crashes into venice port 1 week after opening the Banksy

exhibition and criticizing the cruise ship.

Unfortunately, Still no serious steps have been taken in this regard.

Speaking about Venice, it is impossible not to mention one of the world's first travelers,

Marco Polo.

Marco Polo was an Italian merchant, explorer, and writer who travelled through Asia along

the Silk Road between 1271 and 1295.

He was born around 1254 in Venice, capital of the Venetian Republic.

His travels are recorded in The Travels of Marco Polo, a book that described to Europeans

the then mysterious culture and inner workings of the Eastern world, including the wealth

and great size of the Mongol Empire and China in the Yuan Dynasty.

He has led to dozens of explorers, like Christopher Columbus, who came after him.

In a way, He paved the way for geographical discoveries.

I would like to conclude the video with that perfect quote from Marco Polo's Travelbook.

The person who has lost her way once, goes after every voice.

We wish you not to lose your way.

Take care of yourself.

ANNOUNCE: Il treno arriva alla Venezia St.Lucia.

We are now arriving Venice St. Lucia.

Our next video will be about commercial ships.

Why 70% of the ships carry the Panama flag?

A simple tax evasion job or much more?

Stay Tuned.

The sources of all the information said in this video are given in the description section.

Please comment to make corrections or additions.

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Take care yourself.

Ciao Ciao ...

The Description of Venice's Geography Problem - Will Venice Become an Underwater City ?