The area where the Gran Turismo launches dock shows clear signs of damage: broken Istrian stone and sinking masegni. “Who will pay for the damage caused by the traffic?”
By Alberto Vitucci
10 January 2019
The photograph, sent in by a reader, is worth more than a thousand words. It documents the serious deterioration of Riva degli Schiavoni. It’s the “most beautiful passage in the world” via which one enjoys the sight of the Bacino di San Marco, the Salute and the island of San Georgio. This sight is now blocked by the lines of Gran Turismo boats and metal fencing that marks off access to the docks. A part of the pavement of masegni has sunken, and there are gaps that are under water, and depressions on the surfaces. With cracks that are several centimeters wide between the stones, the damage to the pavement has become an obstacle course. “A badly deteriorated situation exists right in the area where dozens of tourist boats coming from Tronchetto and Marittima dock”, accused Emilio Vianello. “There is clear damage to the bank, so who pays to fix this outrage? We have appealed to the City but nothing has happened”. According to residents it is waves, and particularly motorboat waves, which in the summer do not let up, which are clearly responsible for the damage. The cruise ships that pass by displace hundreds of thousands of tons of water, along with the waves cause by Gran Turismo ferries and small boats, taxis, and public vaporetti. The result is continuous injury to the city’s foundations. The erosion caused by the water gradually destroys the joints between the bricks and the stone, causing a chain of collapse. A few meters away there is another area of damage caused by the motorboat waves. Here there are blocks of broken Istrian stone and the area is partially fenced off with red and white tape. These terrible blows were inflicted by waves and badly controlled traffic.
Broken Istrian stone can also be found in Rio della Ca’ di Dio, which small boats try to use coming from San Marco. Citizens charge that the impact of the traffic is now excessive. “Onda Zero has produced some results, in the sense that boats will go a bit slower from here out. But there are too many”. They call for regulations that can somehow reduce the number of trips, beginning with “heavy vehicles”, not to mention the cruise ships which, even when being towed by tugs, still displace close to one hundred thousand tons of water.
For years citizens have protested this damage, and now it has provoked chain collapses in the pavement. Another damaged area is the corner with the Rio della Pietà. The bank has fallen, and now the Superintendent of Public Works has contracted the work of repair and restoration to the Consorzio Venezia Nuova* and the firm of Renzo Rossi. They are repairing two sections of Riva degli Schiavoni, the corner of the Rio della Pietà, and the area facing the Bacino di San Marco between the Ponte del Sepolcro and the Ponte della Ca’ di Dio. These are exactly the areas beaten down by the waves produced by tourist transportation. It’s a dramatic situation, which doesn’t only concern the waterways that are under the control of the Superintendent and the Capitaneria di Porto. It also is impacting the inner canals, evidenced by crumbling banks, and large cracks caused by the restia, that is, by waves during very low tides, as has been happening recently.
“Unregulated traffic is to blame”, charges a gondolier, “Every day that passes we see the situation getting worse. The tourists ask us how this can happen, and why there are no limits. We don’t know how to respond”.
Source: La Nuova Venezia
*[Ed. note: if the name Consorzio Venezia Nuova sounds familiar, that’s because they’re also in charge of MoSE.]