kottke.org posts about Venice

Venice is floodedNov 12 2012

Again. Venice is flooded again. The flooding happens so often that it's pretty much business as usual:

Venice Flood

Except that this is a pretty serious long-term issue for Venice. The flooding is called acqua alta and according to a city guide, the current mark of 149 cm means that almost 70% of the city is flooded. And six of the top fifteen high water marks were recorded within the past 10 years.

But a project is underway to ease the flooding: a series of gates intended to protect the city called the MOSE Project.

A wonderful mealJan 15 2009

The story of a fantastic meal eaten in Venice.

The owner came out; he was a short but large man, balding, and he wore a rather soiled white apron. Teel asked him if he made a fish soup. The man paused, and then asked how long they could wait for it. Rick and Teel told him -- as long as it took, they were in no hurry. [...] The owner returned in about half an hour with a huge fish overlapping both sides of the basket, which also contained a mass of greens and several bags of clams and shrimp and other things.

Museum citiesOct 19 2007

On the SuperSpatial blog, Martin Gittins reviews a TV series on Venice, Italy, "the city destroyed by its own beauty".

With the indigenous population dwindling to less than 50,000, and the oldest average age in Europe, da Mosto worries for the future of the city, as he brings his children up in what has become essentially a theme park for the hordes of visitors that cross the bridge link into the city, or pull up in the huge cruise ships that stop-over in Venice.

The danger for a city as a theatre or theme-park is that it becomes a stage set, a backdrop. This inevitably treats citizens as actors, there for others amusement. This leads to a simulated city as Baudrillard would have it, a city of the hyperreal as Umberto Eco might tell us. What happens when the audience is not there?

I've never visited Venice, but Paris shares some of the same traits. Obviously Paris is a large cosmopolity with much more than tourism going on, but the central tourist part of the city always feels a lot like a museum to me, moreso than other large cities I've visted. The city is simultaneously Paris -- the capital of France, host to international corporations, home to an increasingly diverse 2.1 million people, cultural center -- and also Ah, Paris™, an experience comprised of a certain style of architecture, cafes spilling out into tiny streets, romantic walks along the Seine, the French waiter, macaroons, the Notre Dame, les bouquinistes, baguettes, etc. That the two identities coexist in the same space and time, one within the other (Paris as cultural hypercube?), creates the potential for some real cognitive dissonance for the frequent tourist or long-term visitor attempting to straddle both worlds.

Scientists are worried that the floodgates beingMar 23 2007

Scientists are worried that the floodgates being built to protect Venice from high tides will be insufficient if the sea level rises too much due to climate change. If sea level rises 4 meters, much of Venice and the surrounding area would be underwater. (See also: Belgium and The Netherlands.)

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