Venice in Peril: A History of Disaster in Venice with Luca Zaggia - Context Travel

Venice in Peril: A History of Disaster in Venice with Luca Zaggia

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Venice has long been a precarious paradise: perhaps more than any other global city, its sea-perched architecture and singularly trade-based economy have made it uniquely susceptible to the ravages of ecological and epidemic onslaught. Explore how different threats - from medieval plagues to rising sea levels and over-tourism - have posed a threat to Venice through the centuries with a local ecologist.

The most deadly to date: the plague itself. Over the course of four different bouts, it halved the city's population and forced the government to invent ingenious solutions for the survival of the city. Geopolitical transformations have also taken their toll: the discovery of the Americas shifted the balance of global power from the Mediterranean Sea (with Venice at its epicenter) to the oceans. Today, the threat of sea-level rise and the loss of Venice's urban population is challenging the city's now-small community to resist the impact of mass tourism on its cultural and social identity.

Just a few months following November's disastrous flooding - and in the midst of the current global health crisis - there's no more relevant time to explore how these various historical (and current) threats are impacting one of our most fragile, and treasured, cities.

Led by native Venetian ecologist Luca Zaggia, this interactive seminar will explore the uniqueness of the wonderful place that is Venice. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a true understanding of Venice's culture, singular ecology and history, and contemporary challenges.

Luca is a geologist who has been working for the last 15 years as a coastal oceanographer for the National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Marine Science, Venice. His research has been focused on many aspects of the management of the lagoon ecosystem, from the assessment of contamination in the water and sediments of the city canal network prior to dredging to the monitoring of the input of freshwater and contaminants from the tributaries of the drainage basin. More recently, with his staff of technicians, he has been involved in studies on the hydrodynamics and transport of sediments in the tidal channel and shallow water areas of the lagoon, as well as the monitoring of the environmental effects of the works for the protection of Venice and its lagoon from floods. In cooperation with European and American institutions, he is also working on research focused on the determination of submarine groundwater input in lagoons and coastal areas.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.