VENICE – Following Italy’s lockdown announcement on 9 March, citizens have taken to posting pictures showing the unexpected positive consequence of reduced tourist numbers: such as the crystal clear waters in Venice’s famous canals.
Previously, the city had to grapple with the impacts of overtourism, an issue faced by fellow European cities the likes of Barcelona, Amsterdam, Dubrovnik.
Venice used to receive between 26 to 30 million visitors a year, suffering from massive crowds, its worst floods last year since 1966, pollution and other environmental damage.
The popular port city’s canals were especially crowded, resulting in several measures issued such as allowing only residents to pass through specially erected turnstiles at two major bridges, and reducing the number of cruise ships entering.
Today, citizens are posting pictures of the complete opposite scenario – a dramatic slowdown in tourist and human activity, which has led to a silver lining in this whole climate: “Venice with never before seen crystal clear water in the last 60 years,” tweeted user @IngridFalasteen.
Local authorities have gone on record sharing that sediments are still present within those canal waters, but that are simply not stirred up due to the reduced boat traffic.
Italy currently has the world’s second highest number of diagnosed Covid-19 cases, prompting prime minister, Giuseppe Conte to issue a national quarantine on 9 March 2020.
The lockdown may extend beyond 3 April, as cases continue to climb.