The MOSE Project (christened MOSES in English)
This stands for Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico and is the Flood Relief
In brief (I’ve written in detail about it in Volume 1 of my “Venice: The Diary of an Awestruck Traveller” – pages 90 and 91), it consists of an integrated system of 78 separate 350 ton, 98 ft long and 65 ft wide, steel ‘mobile gates’, made in the Brodosplit shipyard at Split (Croatia) and towed on water stabilised barges 240 nautical miles to Venice. Each ‘gate’ fits into a concrete caisson sunk 50 ft onto the seabed in trenches, which are installed across the Lido, Malamocco and Chioggia Lidi (inlets to La Laguna). The ‘gates’ are raised when needed by filling them with compressed air which should isolate La Laguna from the Adriatic Sea during high tides. They are lowered again by filling them with water to sink them into their caissons. Locks allow fishermen and small shipping to continue to pass through the Lidi.
A brilliant, revolutionary idea, but this project has been mired in controversy ever since it was started in 2003, and now has 2022 as a completion date instead of 2017. In 2015 the Mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, was arrested on a charge of syphoning off millions of Euros from this Project; costs have spiralled alarmingly; and, would you believe, an unforeseen problem is seagulls, who just love to peck off the yellow protective anti-corrosion paint from the ‘gates’ when raised. The steel then has to be repainted by hand to ensure it doesn’t rust.
However, MOSE is vital for the preservation of Venice, and we all sincerely hope that the powers that be can have this flood barrier finally finished in 2022. One can only live in hope!
Join me for my next Blog, when we might take a trip over to Pellestrina. But until then – ciao.