The images of Venice invaded by water show the plastic reality of a failure announced for a problem that can perhaps be solved with less expensive infrastructures, as others like the Netherlands have shown with the Delta plan concluded in the 90s (but this is another history).
Born with the first Republic, in 1983, the Mose, which stands for Experimental Electromechanical Module, was the movable wall that was to defend the masterpiece of Venetian town planning from the incessant high tides. Costing 5.49 billion euros, but there is talk of costs that could easily rise to 6 or 8 billion, it has not yet entered into operation. For some it is a mirage, for others it is just a money machine for friends of friends.
The work would be completed at 85%. But the technicians maintain that during the last tests of putting the defense doors into operation, while lowering them, unexpected vibrations would have been felt and then the big mobile gates with their steel hinges are rusting and the bulkheads are jammed by the sand . A masterpiece and not a beautiful perspective for the defense of the city, as if the word testing during construction was a future term.
The Mose should come into operation whenever the tide rises to 110 centimeters and build a wall up to 3 meters high. But will it ever work? And if so, will it really prevent water from flooding the lagoon? And with what outlay, given the uncertainty of management costs? More than a work, it looks like a court of miracles.
The work started in 2003 by the Consorzio Venezia Nuova but in 2014 they saw the cleaver of the local judiciary, with 35 arrests and around 100 suspects, for a system of bribes so widespread as to be ordinary. Involved exponents of every political orientation because when you "eat" you do it all together between entrepreneurs, mayor, governor of the region, politicians, public and private officials. Still in April 2019 the seizure of 12.3 million euros on a bribery account, between black funds and foreign fiduciaries, which referred to the former president of Veneto, Giancarlo Galan. The main process arrived at the appeal was resolved with several convictions even if for many actors involved the prescription seems the natural epilogue.
We talk in a system that has moved 33 million bribes but the figure it is certainly partial given also the stellar salaries. You know, saving Venice is not a trivial matter! The only Giovanni Mazzacurati, for thirty years at the head of the Consorzio Venezia Nuova and as manager of all the games of the system, has collected, among various emoluments and a severance pay of 7 million euros, a total sum of 54 million euros. Mazzacurati, father of the well-known director who died years ago, took refuge in California, contracted US citizenship, died last September after an expert report attested to the senile dementia and non-prosecution with the process. Mazzacurati did not seek the spotlight, did not give interviews, did not appear on TV and also brought the recent history of Venice to the grave of which he was actually the royal mayor in the last 30 years.
To tell the truth it should be remembered that the former mayor Massimo Cacciari has always been against the opera and today he declared: "Nothing new, all this was known when it was decided to throw away the money with the Mose. There was an important project to raise the Piazza San Marco and contain water to preserve the Basilica from this phenomenon. It was possible to do it but then all the money for the maintenance of the city was spent on the Moses now who causes his illness to cry himself ".
That Venice could die had already been understood in 1966, when water had reached 1 meter and 94 centimeters in height. Today it has reached 1.87 meters and the Basilica of San Marco has been flooded by a meter of water twice in 24 hours, as well as the crypt under the presbytery, three vaporetti have sunk, dozens of boats have broken their moorings , a 68-year-old man died struck by an electric shock and in various areas there are repetitive blackouts. But let's wait for the Mose and his court of miracles. Work is expected to finish in 2021, perhaps in 2022. Or maybe not.