Construction of the Barrier for the Basilica di San Marco at a Standstill

The companies are still waiting, leaving the desolate image of the suffering Basilica, stuck with the work stopped and the pavement ripped up, showing the fragility of a site that is a heritage of the whole world. The issue of payment to restart the work has not yet been settled.

By Eugenio Pendolini

12 January, 2022

VENEZIA. Everything remains at a standstill in front of the Basilica di San Marco. After the assault at the beginning of the year just a trickle of visitors arrives to admire the splendor of its mosaics. A strong smell of stagnant water permeates the area, due to the usual draining of the well in the crypt.

And in front of the entryway to the Basilica, not even one worker on the job site. Everything has been stopped since the end of November.

This is the desolate image of the suffering Basilica, stuck with the work stopped and the pavement ripped up, showing the fragility of a site that is a heritage of the whole world. Hopes in recent days for a partial resumption of the work have not panned out.

“Everything is still blocked, for the moment there is no news”, confirms Devis Rizzo, owner of Kostruttiva, the business that is working with Renzo Rossi Construzione at the building site to secure the Basilica. There is still no go ahead to resume work. In the meantime, however, the Superintendent has OK’d the opinion that authorizes several variations requested by the Procurator to the project to install glass panels.

In particular, as the Proto di San Marco, architect Mario Piano explains, there are several variations on the type of underground support bases for the insertion of the glass barriers on the Leoncini side of the Basilica. In short, these are further clarifications that – as the construction companies confirm – do not, however, translate into further delays in the work.

In fact, the main unresolved issue remains payments. The companies halted work because they have not yet received the contractual advance of 700,000 Euro that should have been paid by Consorzio Venezia Nuova. The Superintendency, which is the contracting authority for the work, has protested the non-payment of the advances, a task that belongs to the Consorzio.

A further stoppage, however, has come from the Superitendency itself, and from the Accounting Office. In recent weeks the two companies have received partial payments. However, those payments were for work that had already been performed, and were not related to the advances owed for the entire project.

Meanwhile, the continued acque alte of the last few months have continued to cover the excavations all around the Basilica, to the extent that the perforated marble, with the white water collectors showing, are filling with a yellowish layer. It smells bad, especially after the tide recedes. A few centimeters away the columns at the entry to the Basilica continue to suffer, as evidenced by the fragments of Tessagli marble crumbling in the San Clemente door. Appeals from the Procurator in recent weeks have been wasted. The hope now is that by spring there will be some movement regarding the glass barriers that are supposed to protect the Basilica from tides higher than 85 centimeters, pending the waterproofing of the Marciana area for up to 110 centimeters.


Source: La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre

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