In a mythic world, there is a city that glistens thousands of leagues under the sea. Some have searched the secrets of the deep to lay claim to Poseidon’s dwelling, but as far as historians, writers, and common storytellers are concerned, such tall tales of Atlantis have remained just that — tales.
But with the realities of climate change on the horizon, Atlantis may materialize sooner than we think. Experts say that Venice, Italy is slowly and steadily making its way under the waves.
Videos by Rare
Videos by Rare
Decline Over The Years
This sinking city has become a growing concern with regular reports of it creeping closer to sea level by 2 millimeters each year. The primary environmental reason why Venice is sinking is due to subsidence, which is the gradual deterioration of the land surface and foundation caused by a combination of natural forces. Over the past century, Venice has experienced a decrease in groundwater due to the decline in recharge and the impact of extraction.
As the sediment beneath the area compacts, the land beneath is no longer able to be maintained above the surface. Venice is exposed to extreme weather events like flooding and storms, which can further erode and weaken the land, causing it to sink. Climate change has exacerbated this problem, as the rising sea levels have caused more frequent flooding and storm surges.
Last Chance, Last Dance
Even with the steady decline, Venice has remained a hot-topic tourist location for travelers from all around the world. Some wish to get a glimpse at the gorgeous city before they may need a scuba pack or a set of gills to take a tour. Such an excursion looks a bit different than it used to, with most of the winding streets covered in a shallow stream of seawater.
There is one natural phenomenon that has prepared the gondola paradise for conditions such as these. Acqua alta or “high water” is the term given to the unusually high tides that occur along the Italian coast. These tides can reach up to 3 meters and flood parts of Venice during the winter months. With this regular occurrence, business owners and locals have been able to create boardwalks and other over-water precautions for people to safely navigate the length of the city.
The future of Venice is uncertain, but its beauty and intricate culture remained unparalleled. With the city slowly sinking, will you make the journey to experience it before it is gone?