As the heavy rains fell continuously for days on end around the Veneto Region of northeastern Italy, the three rivers that make their way through my adopted hometown — the Bacchiglione, Retrone and Astichiello — finally rose above their banks and overflowed out into the streets turning the greater part of Vicenza into a smaller version of Venice on its worst day.
That was two years ago this month. The Great Flood of 2010. It broke loose on November 1st and left a wide swath of disaster in its wake.
Aerial views of the region looked apocalyptic. As far as the eye could see farmland disappeared underwater, giving the landscape an eerie sea-like appearance. It was not the beachfront property we all dream about owning some day.
Under the rush of water, hundreds of thousands of livestock were lost forever, crops destroyed and thousands of families displaced, some faced with the heart-breaking reality of starting their lives all over again.
Public transportation — rail lines and bus routes — were delayed, postponed or cancelled all together. There was no way in, nor anyway out, unless you owned a boat — row, kayak, pontoon or motor — or a Humvee.
All told, 130 communities and 20,000 individuals around the Veneto Region were directly affected. The flood waters uprooted 4,500 home and farm owners seeking higher ground. Despite the tragedy, only two unfortunates lost their lives in the flood.
Disasters don’t come cheap. 400-million euro ($520-million) was the estimated price tag for damage directly related to the flood, and an additional 600-million euro ($780-million) was the tally for damages to home and farm owners and small and large businesses.
Thankfully, Vicenza and the other communities around the Veneto affected by the Great Flood of 2010 got through it all by coming together, pitching in and assisting their neighbors in overcoming personal tragedy, discomfort and lots of inconvenience.
To the good people living along the U.S. east coast dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I, together with the townspeople of Vicenza and the Greater Veneto, want you to know that we feel your pain and are with you in spirit wishing you only the best.
Remember, this, too, will pass.
©The Palladian Traveler
©Tom Palladio Images