ROME – Violent thunderstorms, small tornadoes that blew roofs of houses, and winds that corresponded to a Category 3 hurricane lashed Italy from Piedmont to Sicily earlier this week. At least eleven people died, many injured and firefighters and other rescue workers
In Venice, heavy winds dropped the tide to more than 61 inches or 156 inches above average sea level on Monday, one of the highest ever recorded values, and toppled much of the city under water. It was the highest tide in a decade in Venice, although far less than the record, more than 76 inches above the level, in November 1966.
Some tourists decided to bathe in the historic St. Mark's square in front of the city's cathedral.
The cathedral itself was damaged by floods as water submerged part of the floor in the central part of the basilica for only the fifth registered time in its nine-century history, officials said. The water covered "several dozen square feet" of the marble pavement in front of the altar of the Madonna Nicopeia, a 12th century icon, and subjugated the baptistery, the board responsible for the building said in a statement.
Near the the covered entrance to the basilica, the mosaic floor was under 35 inches of water, he said, "soaking the monumental bronze doors, pillars and marble." Water levels remained above the ground in the basilica for 16 hours.
It may not be visible to the eye, but structures age because of the salt water that soaks the bricks that should not stay underwater for long; This also applies to bronze, "said Pierpaolo Campostrini, one of the board members," The bricks are like sponges, and if the water level does not fall, the water will rise several feet to the mosaic level. "
" One day it was Basilica 20 years old, "he said
Tuesday's editorial in the Venice daily Il Gazzettino asked what had happened to the Moses project, the divisive, yet unfinished, multi-billion lock system that has been under construction for years built in an Adriatic lagoon on Italy's northeastern coast was always vulnerable to flooding, and the barrier system should provide protection as global warming and rising seas aggravate the threat.
"If it was someday it would have been useful, it was yesterday, "reads the editorial
. Campostrini of St. Mark agreed." This event should not have happened if the Moses project had been in operation "
The situation was equally dramatic in other Italian regions.
In Liguria, in northwestern Italy, the winds reached 112 miles per hour of coastline, one of the most affected regions. The Italian news agency ANSA described a "massacre of yachts" in the town of Rapallo, near Genoa, where dozens of boats moored in the harbor and crashed into the sea or set sail.
A storm destroyed the provincial road to Portofino, isolated the picturesque coastal town and strip off residents and tourists. ANSA reported that the eldest son of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Pier Silvio, is stranded with his family in the area in the castle he owns. Pier Silvio is Deputy Chairman and CEO of Media Group Mediaset
Hundreds of people were evacuated to cities in the mountainous region of Trentino-Alto Adige northwest of Venice after rivers had risen over their banks. The newspapers described fish swimming in the streets of a city.
In some places the slopes drenched with heavy rain gave way.
Late Monday, operational command of the Civil Protection Division came together to coordinate and deploy disaster relief teams across the country, where the wind and rain continued on Tuesday.
Schools remained closed in many regions on Tuesday. Centuries-old pines collapsed in Rome, blocking roads and blocking traffic.
In Venice, the city's floodwatch warned citizens that the tide on Tuesday and Wednesday was unusually heavy, but not as bad as on Monday. A "Code Orange" was in place, with flooding expected to reach more than 43 inches above sea level.
In Naples, many trees fell in the cemetery of Poggioreale, famous for its tombs and monuments closed to the public
Mayor Luigi de Magistris of Naples said Tuesday that the city had been exposed to an "atmospheric earthquake" ,