MoSE will not save San Marco: “The Basilica has never been in danger like now”

The head Procurator of San Marco, Carlo Alberto Tesserin speaks: “We cannot pretend that the problems are solved by the dams”

[Ed. Note: Yesterday the tide rose high enough (over 130 cm) again to activate MoSE – and once again, it worked, and the city stayed dry. For the Basilica of San Marco however, which floods after 90 cm, a much bigger problem remains. Why the authorities aren’t throwing every resource at this, and with all available haste, is honestly beyond me.]

By Roberta Rossi

October 16, 2020

VENEZIA. Today the Basilica is dry, like on Oct. 3: are you satisfied, Procurator?

“We are really very happy that MoSE was raised and worked again: an acqua alta of 130 cm is a disaster for the Basilica of San Marco. But 110 or 120 cm is also a disaster which corrodes the marble of the columns and the nartece: the Basilica has never been in such danger before now. It’s good that MoSE works, but we cannot pretend that everything is resolved: the damage is there and it remains. It requires immediate intervention”.

For Carlo Alberto Tesserin, head Procurator of San Marco, the satisfaction of a basilica with a nartece not covered by acqua alta, which enters the building at 88 cm, lasts just a morning.

What is the situation at the Basilica?

“It is dramatic. We have reached a critical point where intervention by those who can make the decisions is needed: the Basilica has been so weakened by the corrosion caused by the continued acque alte that it is not in a condition to withstand the three years it will require to raise the island of San Marco. The salt water didn’t arrive today, but it was here yesterday and also the other day and – if conditions do not change – it will be here tomorrow, the day after and every time the tide is between 90 and 129 cm, when MoSE is not activated”.

What would have to be done “today” to make San Marco safe?

“What is needed is for those who can to make a decision. For perspective we will need the raising of San Marco island, now planned to be 110 cm, to coincide with the activation of MoSE, which instead is called for at the moment at 130 cm. There can’t be a “gap” of 20 centimeters”.

Yes, but in the meantime?

“We have presented our emergency project for temporary glass barriers around the Basilica, and it is ready. The Ministry of Cultural Heritage has given its support, making a few observations that we feel are easily overcome (among others regarding the new elements introduced by the Boeri studio, employed to “fine-tune” the design by Special Commissioner Spitz).

We need for whoever has the power to decide to give the green light. Next week there is a meeting planned with the Superintendent of Public Works, and we hope to get the answer we have been waiting for. Up to 90 cm we have resolved the problem with a public intervention, our project to “seal” the drain holes and a system of pumps”, concludes Carlo Alberto Tesserin, “but on one hand we need to accelerate as much as possible the project for raising the piazza and making that height coincide with the activation of MoSE. It would be ridiculous, to say the least, to leave an open window. On the other hand, we call on whoever can do so to immediately authorize beginning the temporary work to make the Basilica safe with glass barriers”.


Source: La Nuova Venezia


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