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.


The main autostrada running through the region, along with state and secondary roads, were blocked for days. Schools closed and businesses went on hiatus or shut down forever.

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.


As the rains slowed to a quiet drizzle and the flood waters began receding, Vicentini en masse turned out, rolled up their sleeves and went straight to work cleaning away the mud and debris.

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

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©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

10 comments

  1. Nice article, it could just as easily been about Brisbane. It’s almost two years since the floods here and then shortly after that cyclone Yasi just about wiped out the whole of Queensland. Today, on the surface at least there is almost no sign that anything happened. And once again it brought the community together and people pitched in to help one another.

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    1. Paul – Seems like no matter where you turn, a catastrophe is lurking just up ahead. The latest is the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy along the U.S. east coast. Like Brisbane, Vicenza, too, on the surface, doesn’t show any lingering signs of the November 2010 flooding. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Wow, that is something to experience. Imagine that. We can get some pretty bad typhoons here in HK that can have that affect on some parts of the region. But since I live on the mountain I am lucky not not ever have to deal with flooding. Although, we do get some bad landslides! Love the pics and blog.

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  3. Too often we forget how fragile concrete buildings and man made technologies really are in the power of mother nature.

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