The city of Venice continues to recover from the damage caused by Tuesday night's "Aqua Alta". One of the buildings that most worries the authorities is the historic St. Mark's Basilica, built in the lower part of the city and most affected by the rising water.
The quota of water reached 127 centimeters, leaving submerged part of the nave of the Basilica, inaugurated in 1094. Officials and priests realize that water has not stopped, damaging some of the most delicate areas such as the mosaics and columns that support the building.
Only when the water comes out will it be possible to assess the true impact of the salt that has seeped into the mosaics and columns. Francesco Moraglia, patriarch of the Basilica, said, quoted by La Vanguardia newspaper, that he had never seen waves as big as those that hit the city on Tuesday.
According to expert Silvia Giulia, floods pose a greater threat than fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. "In the Basilica, water, and especially sea salt, caused irreversible corrosion," he explained. "It's like the Chernobyl nuclear explosion. Tides affect the same way as radiation, which slowly erodes the structure," he said.
The Basilica had already suffered from the floods of October last year, which forced a long process of restoration of the floor and columns. The historic building has already suffered six such floods over the course of several centuries, half of them in the last twenty years.
Italian government decrees state of emergency in Venice due to flooding
The Italian government declared a state of emergency in Venice due to flooding on Thursday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced, saying that € 20 million will be made available for "the most urgent interventions".
"The government has approved a state of emergency in Venice," the prime minister said in a message posted on the social network Twitter. Giuseppe Conte added that € 20 million will be made available for "the most urgent interventions in support of the city and the population."
In another message on the social network, the prime minister announced that a state of emergency was also declared for Alexandria, hit by bad weather in October, with 17 million euros to be made available.