After our Summer holidays in Tuscany, we had planned to go to Venice with some friends for a long weekend in the fall.Alas, the Italian health minister issued some stern instructions that one could not enter Italy without a less than 72-hour old PCR test. Our friends balked and stayed home.
Since we had been house bound and not taking any risk, we decided to indeed try our luck (tests, like masks before, were then hardly available). Faithful to the reputation of any government authority, there was zero control at any train station, border, airport, you name it. And what a great opportunity to take some shots of this one-of-a-kind city.
Few people around, reasonably good weather, dolce vita was beckoning.
Venice cannot be mentioned without a special word for its gondolas.
The weather was quite good in early autumn, but we still had a fair share of rain.
As you certainly know, the city’s weak point is its tendency to suffer from floods.
Our weekend was very special in that regard. A once in a lifetime experiment: it was the occasion for the city to try its famous “Mose” for the very first time.
Mose (which stands for Modulo Sperimentale Elettronico) is a composition of mobile hydraulic vanes destined to isolate the Venice laguna to protect it from high tide.
Again, in typical Italian fashion, it was delivered late (original project dates back to the 1970s) and vastly over budget (including briberies…). So, everyone was holding his/her breath: was Mose going to, finally, protect the city, its inhabitants, its buildings, its businesses/shops, museums?
During our stay, for its first genuine “live” test ever, it proved efficient.
Yes, there was a higher-than-normal water level in parts of the city including on San Marco as this sea gull will demonstrate, but nothing compared to what would have happened without the Mose. Venice and its iconic landmarks remained safe.
We were thus able to continue our visit, without having to don boots or other special gear.
Because beyond all the all too well-known places, walking in the back streets can prove just as rewarding, with fewer crowds.
Our friends have remained safe and so have we, and we are hoping to go back, for a longer time period next Spring. We are greatly looking forward to it.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed and stay optimistic
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