One of Italy’s most historic cities is facing some serious environmental challenges.
An unusual drought has emptied the canals of Venice, a city long known for waterways that fill the role of roads.
Factors such as unusual sea currents and low tides have fueled the emptying of many Venetian canals, according to Euronews.
Images from the city — which dates back to the late Roman Empire — show boats left in the mud of empty canals.
🚨| NEW: Pictures show grounded gondolas and miserable tourists in Venice as canals run dry due to drought and low tide‼️ pic.twitter.com/by2K1lQwSJ
— Pubity (@PubityIG) February 21, 2023
This year’s dry winter follows last year’s drought in Italy, forming a perfect storm that has emptied Venice’s waterways.
Venice waterways dry up as Italy braces for another year of severe drought
The dry winter in Italy follows an exceptional drought last year that caused the country to declare a state of emergency for critical agricultural areas surrounding its longest river. pic.twitter.com/BW5ureV2xg
— news lense (@gazzettanews1) February 21, 2023
The Po River has been drained of 61 percent of its usual water levels this time of year, according to The Guardian.
The operators of the city’s gondolas have left their boats languishing threatening the city’s tourism economy.
Exceptionally low tides and a lack of rain in Venice has left some of the city’s famous canals almost dry. Boats and traditional gondolas, which are used for transportation inside the city, could be seen nearly stranded in some of the canals. pic.twitter.com/5wMgUuxPyn
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 22, 2023
Venice was constructed on a lagoon of the Adriatic Sea, in part for natural defense against marauding barbarians in the early Middle Ages.
The city’s strategic location helped its inhabitants build one of the most powerful and wealthy states in the Mediterranean world, before the 19th-century unification of Italy.
Much of Venice is supported by tree trunks submerged in muddy terrain.
Venice sits on top of wooden poles buried in the mud (the mud protects the poles from decaying).
There is the equivalent of 10 million tree trunks under the city. Wild. pic.twitter.com/SxmqgCA0vZ
— Trung Phan (@TrungTPhan) February 23, 2023
Many Venetians are more accustomed to an abundance of water in the city, rather than a shortage.
It’s more common for rising water levels to submerge city blocks and streets in autumn and winter, according to USA Today.
Fortunately, weather forecasters are predicting that melting snow in the Italian Alps will soon bring flowing water to the city’s medieval canals.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.