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Visits Venice after the flood: tourist shares his first-hand account

(CNN) – Halfway through the course of the spaghetti, the siren departs: what sounds like an air warfare alarm, with two long, science-like sounds of warbling sounds, exulting from the surrounding church towers. ] "No …" shouted Alberto Simonetto, owner of Venice's Trattoria La Rosa dei Venti, slamming his head in the door to listen as the siren repeated. He turned to a German family who was eating at his restaurant.

"I have been holed up here for four days. Tonight I want to go out," he told them, suddenly disillusioned by the fact that they did not speak Italian. "I just want to go home," said the lone waiter. "I want to take a bath and watch TV."

It is Friday, November 1

5, three days after Venice suffered the second worst flooding in its history. Simonetto was lucky, he said – it was "only" caused by about € 8,000 ($ 8,900) worth of damage.

But after three days of sleepless water keeping the bay, he was tired. When the siren sounded for the fourth night running, it looked like he could crumble.

He was shy too. When we come in at 10 p.m., asking if they are still open, he said, depends on what you want. "We can make pasta with sardine ragù, meat ragù, tomato or with cream and mushrooms," he said. We asked for sparkling water and she apologized. "Sorry – we haven't had delivery in three days."

Locals take the pieces

As a tourist in Venice, you rarely find local life. Last week, however, tourists couldn't help but be co-opted for the five-day flood. Having a choice of a four-pasta dish is not the same as having € 8,000 in damage caused by your business in one minute, of course; but at one point, in a city where tourists seemed to do as they wished as locals picked up the pieces, tourists, too, did not find it difficult.

Six weeks ago, I booked a week in Venice with my mother to visit the Biennale, the annual six-month art exhibition. By Friday night, it was clear our plans for a week of elegant flânerie would be gone. The floods were gone by the time we arrived, and the most damaging damage – the waterbus crashing to the sidewalk, the newspaper kiosk floating in the gutter – was cleared.

But more personal losses were seen. Cannaregio's friends lost their beds and their refrigerators, but they did not plan to clean their apartment until the acquaintance was over, they said.

Others are quick to get rid of damaged properties. The streets – though quieter than usual in a city of just 53,000 residents (there were three times as many as the 1930s) – were lined with flood-damaged equipment: refrigerators, mattresses, lamps, de- electrical equipment, books and magazines.

Museums and churches closed

Churches were banned – 50, or half of them, sustained serious damage, including the Byzantine Basilica di San Marco.
Museums and galleries. too – Ca 'Pesaro, the modern art gallery based on the Grand Canal, is thought to have been so damaged that it closed for three months, said one person looking at the damage to Palazzo Mocenigo, the ( now reopened) textile and perfume museum.
At Palazzo Grimani, a Renaissance museum reopened by a great new classical exhibit earlier this year, a flood barrier was pulled and a piece of paper mounted on the gate was said to be expected to close.
The Fondazione Querini S tampalia – a beloved museum, museum and research center – is also closed. Its ground floor has been destroyed – including the modern area remodeled by Venetian modernist architect Carlo Scarpa from 1949 to 1963.

Scarpa designed the floor to embrace the allies, rather than try prevent it. His work for Querini Stampalia included modern walks leaning on ancient times, rail and canal steps, and making steel doors to let the water sink and keep moving.

Floods swept through six feet

Those were the only cultural institutions. Looking for a place to eat dinner, it's clear that small businesses are hit at the worst.

"Off for acquaintance," read the signs on some restaurant doors; others were shut down, with no explanation. Around San Pants, a place that is often bustling with nightlife, tourists flock to a lone bar. In other streets, Venetians in thigh-high gumboots wash swift ombre (glass of wine), flood barriers have been lifted.

Dinner at La Rosa dei Venti should be a note for Italy. Our pasta arrived within minutes. Fifteen minutes later, the siren rang, and we passed the bill. "Sorry," Alberto said as he drove us out. "The water is already coming out of the canal." In the 25 minutes we got there, the street outside became a field.

On Saturday, authorities were predicting a water level of 115 cm (close to four feet) by noon. At 110 centimeters, about 12% of the city is flooded; at 120 centimeters, over 35%. After 140 centimeters, more than 90% of the city was swamped. Last week the flood dropped to 187 centimeters.

An old man dies as local authorities in the Italian city of Lagoon call it an emergency emergency.

& # 39; The people of Venice helped each other & # 39;

Marta Renno has dried woolen scenes made in Bethlehem at her Fair Trade shop near the San Stae vaporetto shop, Bottega del Mondo. He marked Tuesday's flood level – knee height – with black ink on the wall.

"It's been a strange week," he said. "A lot of tourists go home. But the good thing about Venice is that people help each other."

He heard nothing from the authorities around his area; but everything is okay, he said, because they are checking on one.

Troops of youth patrolling the city helping residents clean and rebuild are nicknamed the "angels of acquaintance". Other residents of the Veneto region, including electricians, offer their services for free in the injured city.

At the Basilica of San Marco that night – closed to tourists, but open to worshipers – the priest praised the Venetian unity. in his sermon. He told an old woman who, in the midst of the floods, had suspended a basket full of candy from her window on the second floor. That, he said, was the essence of Venice.

"It has always been the people of the earth who have diversity," said Marta, smiling, as she unrolled sheets of leather stricken with water.

Around Piazza San Marco

Other shop owners began to bring them flood-damaged materials, he said, because everyone knew they were experts on cycling. They want to make sure that little ones get wasted as much as they can't. "We'll be okay," he said, smiling.

Around Piazza San Marco, this is a different story. Danieli – one of the most popular hotels in the city – has installed metal lanes for guests to enter, and a ground floor window appears to have been broken.

The medieval bar is closed, tables, chairs and grand piano stacked on top of each other, water pooling in the middle.

Bars in the piazza itself, typically attracting tourists who want to pay $ 15 for a cappuccino with live orchestral accompaniment, are closed. On nearby streets, design shops including Prada, Versace and Ferragamo have raised their windows to hide the damage.

At one of the few supermarkets left open, I asked where to find water. "If there is one left," the security guard said, pointing me to the empty shelves where there was only a small bottle.

Global flood expert Henk Ovink says the historical floods in Venice are not only the result of a climate crisis but poor infrastructure and mismanagement.

& # 39; We are very lucky here & # 39;

But through it all, the Venetians remained not only stoical, but upbeat. At bookshop Acqua Alta, whose famous gondolas-for-shelf Instagram couldn't save its books, students were excited to snatch the stock to see what was saved.

"How big, how terrible, but it is life and liberty," sings a garbage collector passing me on the street, a block from a drowned rat on cowboys.

"We keep the supermarket open just for you," said the security guard, smiling, as he guided me through what was left of the water.

"We're very lucky here," said the receptionist at the Hotel Papadopoli, near Piazzale Rome, the bus terminal. "It's a high part of town. Other hotels need to close."

Back in San Stae, Marco Accardi is doing what most Venetians do: installing his flood barriers for the 150-centimeter forecast for Sunday, and fortifying them. with the insulation of the builders.

But unlike the others, he adds one designation to each door: MOSE (Venice is annoying with no flood function); Moses, Noah; St Rosalia (the patron saint of Palermo, where he came from); and St Rita, the patron saint of impossible cases.

"Marco, what are you doing?" asked a friend walking past. "If MOSE can't help, it may be Moses. If he can't, No will be in his ark. If he can't, we will ask St Rosalia," he said.

"And in the offense, maybe St. Rita can help us," she laughed.

Venice needs guests – and quickly

She stopped by her work to show us the video she took Wednesday, of her restaurant, Bacarretto Bistrot, deep throats in dirty water. "Unfortunately, it's mine," he said with a smile.

The flood was caused by thousands of dollars in damage, he said, and insurance policies did not cover the floods in Venice. But he was more concerned about the fact that it had been at least two weeks without profit before he could reopen.

Even then, he said, "Venice has seen many cancellations." Tourists saw the footage and did not want to come.

As a tourist, I would say there is no need to postpone the visit. The water subsided, and most museums reopened. The city is as good as it used to be – even better, you could say, with the current bereavement of visitors.

But the Venetians suffered devastation, and all they needed was visitors – and fast.

As Sebastian Fagarazzi of Venezia Autentica, a platform that supports local artists, told me last week: "At this point people have to make money to survive their losses. [19659054] "If people decide not to come, people are desperate. does not require money, though we are based on tourism. "

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