By Richard Tol in The Conversation.
Venice has flooded. But while worry about the worst floods in a decade and warnings about the impacts of climate change and sea level risedominate most of the media coverage, there’s a more complex story to be told.
In Venice, floods are a feature, not a bug. The city was founded by people fleeing the Huns. They were safe in the lagoon (a word borrowed from Venetian), where horses and armoured men could not advance: the soggy ground would slow the enemy, the tide would wash them out.
Halfway between land and sea, trade is the only way to make a living. And so Venetians became successful merchants and built a magnificent city, with dazzling palaces and splendid churches filled with delightful works of art.
That city would flood every so often, when the tide was high and the wind pushed the waters of the Adriatic up north. But Venetian buildings are designed to withstand this, and city life bustles around the water.
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