a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Venice in Peril


Saving Venice
John Julius Norwich Writer
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

So the last two problems were very, very quickly solved. The industrial zone was made to change a lot of old plant and old equipment for newer, less polluting stuff, and aqueducts were built. Well, they really more pipelines, but the Italians call them acquedotti, to bring fresh water from the mountains, only 50 miles away, so that all the wells leading to the table of freshwater under Venice have been sealed. I mean, every square in Venice has its well, but you can't get into any of them now; they've all got a steel cover on top, and they're... And the result of this was that within a very, very short time, the subsidence virtually stopped, and one or two little corners of Venice actually went up a bit. And gradually over the years, also, the atmospheric pollution has got very, very, very much better. The global warming, the sea is now the big problem. As I say, they have built, they're about to finish, these great closing locks, which will normally lie flat on the bed of the lagoon, but will rise up like that when the waters threaten. And when they're in place, then I think Venice should be safe from all the major floods, until... well, I don't know, forever is pushing it, because I suppose, theoretically, there might come a moment, if global warming continues, that the waters rise above the level of the dam, and then we'll be in trouble again. But, I mean, that won't happen for a century or more, and, with any luck, won't happen at all.

John Julius Norwich (1929-2018) was an English popular historian, travel writer and television personality. He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, at Eton, at the University of Strasbourg and on the lower deck of the Royal Navy before taking a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. He then spent twelve years in H.M. Foreign Service, with posts at the Embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. In 1964 he resigned to become a writer. He is the author of histories of Norman Sicily, the Republic of Venice, the Byzantine Empire and, most recently, 'The Popes: A History'. He also wrote on architecture, music and the history plays of Shakespeare, and presented some thirty historical documentaries on BBC Television.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Venice

Duration: 2 minutes, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: 2017

Date story went live: 03 October 2018