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The first defence system against high water in Venice: the Murazzi

Historical Curiosities

The first defence system against high water in Venice: the Murazzi

These days we hear a lot about Venice's MOSE (Experimental Electromechanical Module), an impressive feat of engineering that is designed to protect Venice from the problem of flooding.

In reality this is not the first attempt to protect the lagoon city from the water, because in 1716 the island of Lido also created Murazzi, massive dams built with Istrian stone, designed by father Vincenzo Coronelli to defend the banks of the lagoon from sea erosion. They were built to replace the previous palade, which was built on stilts and filled with stones, but it did  not last very long.

The defence system is divided into three parts: one on the island of Lido, the second on the island of Pellestrina and a third in Sottomarina. In the area between Pellestrina and Ca' Roman, the Adriatic Sea and the Venice lagoon are practically only separated by this dam.

In 1825 the Murazzi were damaged by storms and on the 4th of November 1966 their failure was one of the causes of the exceptional high water that flooded the city of Venice. Recently a series of breakwaters were built perpendicular to the main dams for the purpose of creating low depth shores and beach stretches.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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