One of the worst acqua altas in recent times ravaged Venice Saturday, with waters cresting at 132 cm, putting roughly 70% of the city under the flood. Heights averaged 50 cm in Piazza San Marco, though a glance at the web cams a moment ago shows that it has receded.
This time the floods were accompanied by liquid sewage and a potent stench, especially on the island of Murano. The fire department has had its hands full recovering boats that had been torn from their moorings.
Meanwhile, Mayor Massimo Cacciari has been actively opposing the construction of the MOSE floodgates, preferring methods that don't affect the natural flow of water into and out of the lagoon from the Adriatic. He's managed to wangle a temporary work suspension, though the project, still slated for completion in 2011, will be very tough to derail.
Cacciari's opposition has riled many, including his longtime nemesis, the president of the Veneto region, Giancarlo Galan, who once famously indicted Cacciari for negligence in the burning of the La Fenice opera house (he was acquitted). Says Galan of the latest flood, deriding Cacciari's lack of potent alternatives to MOSE: "What do the geniuses and scientists of Topolinia say now?"
Topolinia translates, roughly, to "Disneyland".
-- based on accounts in today's Il Gazzettino