Canals of Venice are collapsing: new peak due to exceptional low tide

This exceptional low tide is due to the high pressure that has been stationing on Italy and most of Europe for days

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Canals of Venice are collapsing: new peak due to exceptional low tide

The canals of Venice are suffering from exceptionally low tides. Minus 66 centimeters compared to tidal zero on Sunday, minus 70 expected on Monday 20 February 2023. The series of low tide lows in Venice continues, and will continue to do so in the coming days.

In fact, according to the tide center of the Municipality, for example, minus 45 centimeters are expected on Wednesday at 18.00. This exceptional low tide is due to the high pressure that has been stationing on Italy and most of Europe for days.

And in the lagoon, in the hours in which it coincides with the minimum astronomical contribution, the phenomenon of the dry city occurs. The internal canals are muddy and no longer navigable and the foundations of the buildings uncovered.

Between Wednesday and Thursday the situation, however, should change, with rain and precipitation that will bring the phenomenon back.

The canals of Venice

The canals of Venice are actually lagoon areas with a greater water flow that have a greater natural and/or artificial depth than the surrounding lagoon from which they are otherwise indistinct.

Often these are vestigial remains of ancient river beds. The greater depth of these channels makes them suitable for navigation even of large tonnage. A system of poles placed at a regular distance indicates the border of these channels, beyond which the depth of the lagoon drastically decreases to the point of making navigation impossible except with the typical flat-bottomed rowing boats.

It is precisely with this second meaning that some navigable stretches, now incorporated in the urban nucleus, have kept the ancient name of canal. In fact, until the 19th century these natural waterways marked the boundaries of the city with the lagoon, before the subsequent silting up of the surrounding areas which incorporated them into the city.

The term canal is used in the Historic Center to indicate the waterways which, due to their width, length and traffic density, constitute the real backbones of the city's internal navigation system. Among the most famous are: the Grand Canal, which crosses the entire heart of the city from west to east separating it in two and ends in the San Marco Basin.

The Cannaregio Canal, which joins the initial part of the Grand Canal with the northern part of the lagoon in the direction of Mestre. The Giudecca Canal, which connects the western part of the city directly to the south with the San Marco Basin.

The Scomenzera Canal, which directly connects the Giudecca Canal with the initial part of the Grand Canal in Santa Chiara, passing between the Maritime Station and the Santa Marta area.