Photo: Marco Contessa + Marco Capovilla/Facebook

Venice’s Canals Are Getting Much Clearer as Coronavirus Keeps Tourists Away

by Eben Diskin Mar 16, 2020

There aren’t too many silver linings to the coronavirus pandemic, but in Venice, a lack of tourists and boat traffic along the canals is actually having some positive effects. All of Italy is under lockdown due to the coronavirus, meaning Venice, one of the country’s largest tourist attractions, is seeing far less foot and boat traffic. Locals have noticed a change in the city’s water quality. No longer murky, the city’s canal water is now much clearer, and you can even see small fish swimming around.

The Facebook group Venezia Pulita has become a repository for photos of the clear canals, with residents posting a series of optimistic comments.

One Venetian wrote, “What a marvel this Venice was; this virus brought something…beautiful.”

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


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The air quality has also improved, with the mayor’s office saying that the air “is less polluted since there are less vaporetti and boat traffic than usual because of the restricted movement of residents.”

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