Venice

The city of Venice in Italy’s north-eastern region is a ‘must’ for visitors interested in history, art, good food, rising sea levels and sinking civilizations. November is a good time to drop in, as most establishments are still open, tourists few, prices reasonable and queues non-existent.

Venice’s history is all-enveloping and the grandiosity of the architecture is as breathtaking as the city’s locale: smack in the middle of a vast lagoon. That the city’s massive stone buildings are built on soft sediments is something that is not generally appreciated. Some gravitational settling of these structures might be expected over several centuries, moreso since the city is within a seismically active region. But no, most commentators prefer more exotic reasons for rising water levels.

One way to capture the sense of that sinking feeling in Venice is by touring its ubiquitous art galleries and collections. Some oil painted streetscapes date back six centuries or so, and it’s quite a surprise to realize that water levels in some of these paintings look suspiciously similar to what is witnessed today. It’s quite an eye opener.

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