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 The Lost City of Venice

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PostSubject: The Lost City of Venice   Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:56 am

Under a plaid umbrella, Paola Malanotte Rizzoli zigzags through the rain, her boot heels clattering on the wet cobblestones of Venice as waves slap the eastern bank of the Grand Canal a few yards away. A black shawl keeps the Adriatic mist from kinking her platinum curls, freshly coiffed for a party later tonight. She ducks into a caf�, folds and stashes the umbrella, and unwraps her shawl. "The poet Byron said that Venetians love to talk, even in their sleep, and he was right," says Rizzoli, pouring herself a cup of tea.

This morning, sirens blared across the city, the familiar signal that Venice would flood today. Tourists waiting in line to visit the Doge's Palace and the Basilica jostle for space on raised walking platforms in a deluged St. Mark's Square, the city's cultural and architectural center. Shopkeepers slide plywood barriers into the space at the bottoms of their doorways. "London flooded in the 1970s, and they built the Thames River barriers five years later," she says. "In Venice, we had our flood in 1966, and we are still talking."

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