Culture

Venice Locals In COVID-19 Lockdown Are Busy Documenting The Unusually Clear Canals

With Italy in coronavirus lockdown, the canals and streets of Venice are unusually deserted. Absent hordes of tourists, the city’s waterways are looking dramatically different.

Venetians are sharing photos of the change in a Facebook group called Venezia Pulita.

Twitter user @yagefudo, who attends university in Venice, shared a few initial photos that quickly went viral. In one, the usually murky canal water is visibly teeming with small fish. (Update: the user’s tweets are now private, but not before others lifted the photos for their own posts.)

Because this is Twitter, much conjecture about the actual water quality followed in the replies. (Some users, bless them, also took the opportunity to Photoshop dinosaurs and alligators into the newly hospitable Venice.)

A spokesman for the Venice mayor’s office told CNN the clear canals aren’t a direct result of improved water quality, as some tweets have suggested.

“The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom,” the spokesman said. “It’s because there is less boat traffic that usually brings sediment to the top of the water’s surface.”

Another Twitter user in Italy shared videos of fish in Venice, a swan on Milan’s Naviglio canal and a dolphin at the port of Cagliari in Sardinia.

As reported by the Washington Post, coronavirus measures have led to a significant decline in Italy’s air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. This change is particularly pronounced over northern Italy, a region hard hit by the virus. With a sharp decline in traffic on the roads and across-the-board closures of schools and public gatherings, the flow-on effect to the environment is already profound.

And if you need a laugh, there’s always the emerging genre of Venice canal memes.

(Lead Image: Twitter / @ikaveri