Venice officials have given a preliminary okay to surrounding St. Mark's Basilica with a 1.2-metre high glass wall to keep out damaging floods in future. The wall would replace the iron railing around the building.
After November's floods in Venice, which swamped the mosaic floors and crypt of St Mark's Basilica with sewage and corrosive sea water, officials estimated that repairing damage would cost over €128, and that continuing flooding would produce damage that could not be repaired.
Aside from its historic and artistic significance, St Mark's is a special concern because it is located at one of the lowest points in the city and is therefore floods first, when water rises 85 cm above normal sea level. Even the Mose barriers, intended to protect the Venetian lagoon, would only be activated at 110 cm, if they are ever finished, so the wall would be needed in any case, its proponents say.
Before construction can happen, two more approvals are needed, one from the city's heritage authority, and another from its public works committee.
Photo: volunteers mopping up in St Mark's after the November floods