Last night, Roberto and I attended the Big Vocal Orchestra's delightful My Favorite Christmas concert at Teatro Goldoni in Venice. An evening we’d been looking forward to for some time. The audience, mostly local residents, wholeheartedly enjoyed the 200 member choir’s choice of festive music. The performance also included a wrenching hymn and video tribute to Venice and the aftermath of last November’s exceptional high tide. A long applause filled with love and concern for this remarkable city followed.
When we exited the theater, the night was cold and damp, the predicted high tide remained lower than expected, so we walked to the Piazza-St. Mark's Square. When we arrived to what is the lowest point in the city, we saw some water in the center, but it was receding-as the sea tide does EVERY 6 HOURS.
Lately, I've read on social network forums that some don’t understand that the tide, whether it be high or low, comes in and then 6 hours later it goes out, again. Many unfamiliar with Venice appear to think that when there is flooding due to high tide that Venice remains under water. That is not so. Again, the tide comes in, and then the tide goes out.
Thanks to the Venetians’ resilience and hard-work ethic Venice is now running “business as usual”. Still, on our evening walk we saw that the city was quieter than usual, and far too empty for the weekend before Christmas. The language we heard from passersby was mostly Venetian.
Our walk took us to Wine Bar 5000 for a light late dinner—a favorite spot adjacent to the wine bar's Ristorante Luna Sentada, both owned by friends. We sat down, ordered a glass of wine and a plate of cicchetti, and began chatting with our friends.
A month after the exceptional high tide, the feel around town and among small business owners, hotels, artisans, restaurants and the like is one of being tired, not giving up and a deep concern for their city, its future, and now on top of all that, the lack of business. Reports show that after the November high tides hotel reservation cancellations reached 45%. Understandably, those who don't understand Venice were frightened away. Yet the city is operating in the same way it was the day BEFORE the November floods.
Fewer visitors in town, the expense of repairs, the upfront cost of replacing large and small appliances and machinery, loss of income that lasted days, weeks or a month, and the need to meet normal business expenses are weighing heavily on small businesses here. The ripple effect is beginning to be felt.
In no way is this post meant to suggest that the recent high-tides be forgotten. Remedies must be found and used to save Venice from future exceptional high-tide episodes. Fortunatly, flooding from high-tide doesn’t occur every day, nor every week, nor every month. So for those who don't know Venice well, how can one know when to expect high tide?
There are two easy ways.
1) The city of Venice guideline tide map, available online, is an essential guide for locals, and very helpful to those planning to visit.
2) And the free Hi!Tide app which shows current and predicted tide levels.
Please scroll down to my photos from last night. They show Venice on a typical December night. If you're considering a last minute trip to Venice in December or January, hotel rates are at a bargain right now.
Please share this blog post, too! It is intended to help Venetians and those planning to visit.
Wishing you all a Happy Holiday Season and a Serene 2020!