Luca Campigotto, Canal Grande, 2018
December 9, 2019
Last "acqua alta," two weeks ago, was very scary, the second high tide in History. In my old darkroom at the ground floor of my parents' house there was almost half a meter of water, instead of the few centimeters that usually enter. The wind started to blow as if it had gone mad. The water in the streets was so high that in many places it was impossible to pass even with fishing boots. In the wider streets the current seemed to want to take you away, people couldn't stand up.
For a few hours it seemed that the sea had had enough of its ancient queen, and wanted to drown it once and for all. Too many memories of glory and splendor reduced to a tourist attraction. Too many thieves, corruption, and wrong technological choices to defend the city against the unstoppable rising of the sea levels. Too much decadence... Better to submerge everything. Better a new Atlantis. For a few hours, Aeolus and Neptune had blood in their eyes. And maybe even tears of anger. Better make her die once and for all ...
But then, after slapping so much beauty, would the world have been a better place? Could we really do without Venice? Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote that "Beauty will save the world." And we all need to love that ageless beauty. The enchantment of an unheard-of landscape. A treasure chest of art built like an embroidery on the coming and going of the water. A fragile life, at the mercy of events. Yet so tenacious over the centuries.
The day after, the damage is immense. The interiors of the houses on the ground floor are devastated. Restaurants and shops are on their knees, the engines of each machinery and the refrigerators are gone. Goods, furniture and boats destroyed. Even the scores with the music by Benedetto Marcello risked disappearing. The November law wants the light of day to remain grey. And just as she silently cries out, Venice looks even more beautiful. Endless emotion. Unique and irreplaceable like every great love.