Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Associated Press Photos: Divisions guard the Basilica of San Marcos

VENICE ( Associated Press) — It’s a simple solution, but one that could protect the marble columns and beautiful mosaics of Venice’s iconic St. Mark’s Basilica from erosion by seawater. A system of glass partitions constantly keeps the floor of the 900-year-old structure dry during high tide.

After evaporating, the water leaves behind deposits of salt crystals that corrode the marble bases of the columns and the mosaics on the floor, explains Mario Piana, the architect and restoration specialist who is in charge of San Marcos.

New glass partitions have been installed on a reinforced concrete foundation buried under the pavement of the famous St Mark’s Square to resist the force of the flood. Piana ensures that the system can withstand a water onslaught of up to 1.10 m in a class equivalent to a tide of 1.90 m above sea level.

“Let’s hope that, in the future, there will be no floodwaters touching the base of the basilica,” says Piana during a site visit, highlighting the fragility of the structure made of mud bricks.

Built on logs between canals, the stately city of Venice has faced flooding since its founding 1,600 years ago, but like other coastal regions, rising sea levels and extreme events linked to climate change have increased the frequency of high tides. has increased.

Built on one of the highest points in Venice at the time, it is currently one of the lowest due to land subsidence and sea level rise.

This is why San Marcos is one of the places most prone to flooding and remains vulnerable despite the installation of Moses’ underwater barriers in 2020 to protect the city from floods of more than 1.3 meters.

The November 2019 flood was particularly damaging, as the water did not recede quickly and parts of the basilica were submerged for 24 hours.

Unseasonal flooding has also increased the vulnerability of the basilica and the authorities have designed new glass partitions as a defence.

Piana said the glass and concrete barriers are part of a larger project to build canals under the church and the plaza of the same name to divert water from the lagoon and prevent it from flooding the plaza.

Nation World News Desk
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