Quotidiani locali

A project to raise Saint Mark's Square and protect it from tidal waters

Venice would sink even with the "Mose" in operation, which brings an old idea back to the table

VENICE. Isolating Saint Mark’s Square from high tides. Intervention work which, in the early years of the new millennium, the government had in fact placed ahead of the Mose project, the system of mobile barriers in the lagoon. Cast aside for years. Today, a year and a half away from the scheduled completion of the work (June 2018), the project has resurfaced.

The new president of the former Water Authority, now known as the Veneto Office of Public Works, Roberto Linetti, relaunched the idea during the course of a technical meeting. «The Saint Mark’s Square project will happen», he said, «the money is there».

A dramatic turn of events, putting the old "isolation" project, which was designed and subsequently abandoned due to economic difficulties and technical uncertainties, back on track. For three years, the world has watched the “Mose scandal” and the predicament of this significant work, which seems overwhelmed in difficulties.

It is also clear that the high water in Saint Mark’s Square is not linked to the construction of the Mose, a large barrier that is raised when the tide reaches 100-110 centimetres above mean sea level. But Saint Mark’s will be submerged before this. The entrance to the Basilica, the narthex and the lowest areas flood when the water reaches 65 centimetres.

Now State offices in accordance with the New Venice Consortium of commissioners have resurrected the project. It will need reviewing and adjusting, but it forms the basis of this further intervention.

Works that are estimated to cost 100 million euro, and will isolate the square in three ways. Raising the banks of the Quay and of the Orseolo Basin, work already carried out a few years ago in the area from Ponte della Paglia to Zecca, up to a quota of 100-110. Next, isolating all the areas subject to “filtration” in the subsoil, and preventing the water from the lagoon from resurfacing via sewer access points.

In order to “waterproof” the Square, a huge seal was also planned at first, and then rejected by experts in favour of a bentonite membrane (sand and clay). Meanwhile the historic paving put in place by Andrea Tirali in the Eighteenth century, the Istrian stone and the marble, will be restored. The below ground utilities of the 42 commercial businesses in the Square will have to be restored by private companies.


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