- Venetian Lagoon
The Venetian Lagoon is the enclosed bay of the
Adriatic Seain which the city of Veniceis situated. Its name in the Venetian language, "Laguna Veneta"— cognate of Latin "lacus", "lake"— has provided the international name for an enclosed, shallow embaymentof saltwater, a lagoon.
The Venetian Lagoon stretches from the
Silein the north to the Brentain the south, with a surface area of around 550 km². It is around 8% land, including Veniceitself and many smaller islands. About 11% is permanently covered by open water, or canalas the network of dredged channels are called, while around 80% consists of mud flats, tidal shallows and salt marshes. The lagoon is the largest wetlandin the Mediterranean Basin. [Poggioli, Sylvia ( January 7, 2008). [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17855145 "MOSE Project Aims to Part Venice Floods"] . "Morning Edition", radio program.]
It is connected to the
Adriatic Seaby three inlets: Lido, Malamoccoand Chioggiainlets. Sited at the end of a largely enclosed sea, the lagoon is subject to high variations in water level, the most extreme being the spring tides known as the "acqua alta" (Italian for "high waters"), which regularly flood much of Venice.
The Lagoon of Venice is the most important survivor of a system of estuarine lagoons that in Roman times extended from
Ravennanorth to Trieste. In the sixth century, the Lagoon gave security to Romanised people fleeing invaders (mostly the Huns). Later, it provided the naturally protected conditions for the growth of the Venetian Republicand its maritime empire. It still provides a base for a seaport, the Venetian Arsenaland for fishing, as well as a limited amount of huntingand the newer industry of fish farming.The Lagoon was formed about six to seven thousand years ago, when the marine transgression following the Ice Ageflooded the upper Adriatic coastal plain. [This geological history follows Brambati et al. 2003 (references).] River sediments compensated for the sinking coastal plain, and coastwise drift from the mouth of the Po tended to close tidal inlets.
The present aspect of the Lagoon is due to human intervention. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Venetian hydraulic projects to prevent the lagoon from turning into a marsh reversed the natural evolution of the Lagoon. Pumping of
aquifers since the nineteenth century has increased subsidence. Originally many of the Lagoon’s islands were marshy, but a gradual programme of drainage rendered them habitable. Many of the smaller islands are entirely artificial, while some areas around the seaport of the Mestreare also reclaimed islands. The remaining islands are essentially dunes, including those of the coastal strip ( Lido, Pellestrinaand Treporti).
The largest islands or archipelagos by area, excluding coastal reclaimed land and the coastal
La Certosa0.24 km²
Sacca Fisola0.18 km²
Isola Di San Michele0.16 km²
Sacca Sessola0.16 km²
Santa Cristina0.13 km²
Other inhabited islands include:
San Francesco del Deserto
San Giorgio in Alga
San Giorgio Maggiore
San Lazzaro degli Armeni
Santa Maria della Grazia
San Pietro di Castello
* [http://www.salve.it/uk/eco/destra/ecobase.htm Lagoon of Venice information]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?q=venice,+italy&ll=45.367584,12.300568&spn=0.384961,1.315063&t=k&hl=en Satellite image from Google Maps]
* [http://www.istitutoveneto.it/venezia/milva MILVa - Interactive Map of Venice Lagoon]
* [http://www.comune.venezia.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/IT/IDPagina/3836 Comune di Venezia, Servizio Mobilità Acquea, Thematic cartography of Venice Lagoon]
* [http://www.episodes.org/backissues/263/19Brambati.pdf Brambati, Antonio, Laura Carbognin, Tullio Quaia, Pietro Teatini and Pietro Tosi, "The Lagoon of Venice: geological setting, evolution and land subsidence" Sep [tember 2003] (pdf file)
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