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Photos by Michael Yamashita @yamashitaphoto / End of fall flooding? / Fall marks the beginning of the acqua alta, or high water, season in Venice, Italy. It’s the period when high tides flood the city’s canals and piazzas and tourists scurry to find knee-high boots. The phenomenon has occurred for centuries, but a rise in sea level and a drop in land level—due to natural and man-made problems including climate change and industrialization—have produced dramatic increases in the amount and frequency of flooding. In November 2019, the city was inundated with the highest water levels in 50 years, leaving ground floors of many buildings uninhabitable. The floods have driven many of the 50,000 residents away from the city, surrendering it to the annual (pre-pandemic) influx of over 30 million tourists. A search for a solution to keep Venice above water has been on for decades. Finally, after delays and cost overruns, an ambitious project begun in 2003 had its first successful test this month. The MOSE (Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico) project, which consists of a series of 78 mobile gates, was activated and succeeded in blocking high tides of over four feet (1.2 meters) from entering the Venetian Lagoon. The entire endeavor is not expected to be fully completed until 2021, but officials and residents of the city are hopeful that it will be enough to keep Venice a vital city—and not merely a waterlogged museum. #venice #acquaalta #sanmarcosquare #piazzasanmarco #yamashitaphoto