Nov 16, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Venice floods threaten the city's historical sites

Tourists walking around a flooded Venice

Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty Images

Historical sites, valuable art and architectural treasures found in Venice are at risk of structural damage from the sea salt in the waters that submerged the city, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The flooding will leave behind salt crystals that corrode the brickwork of centuries-old churches and palaces, per Reuters. City leaders told Reuters, global warming has directly contributed to increasing sea levels that pushed massive amounts of water toward and into the city.

  • Residents with damaged homes will receive $5,500 in compensation from the government, BBC reports.

Sites impacted by the flooding:

  • The famed St. Mark’s Basilica is particularly in danger as it flooded for the second time in just over a year. Saltwater has almost reached capacity in the church's crypt, where marble columns support the structure, per Reuters.
  • St. Mark's Square has become a "glorified" swimming pool, the Washington Post writes.
  • The Gritti Palace, which hosts famous celebrities and diplomats, is currently flooded. It underwent a $60 million restoration in 2013, and was supposed to be prepared for flooding, according to Architectural Digest. However, it couldn't handle the most recent flooding that overwhelmed more than 80% of the city.

The latest: Venice is anticipated to experience another high tide this Sunday, according to Reuters. Tuesday's flooding was the city's worst in 50 years, and is estimated to have resulted in more than $1 billion in damage.

Go deeper: Highest tide in 50 years floods Venice

Go deeper