Just one week ago, I was looking for tell-tale signs of “Spring in Venice” to include in this blog post. At a time when we seemed to moving back to winter!! A wet weekend was forecast, gusts of southwesterly wind (libeccio) and torrential rain, threatening to press huge amounts of water into the Lagoon.
A meeting of Venetian Instagram friends had been scheduled for Sunday afternoon, 28 February. We did enjoy a tregua – a break from the wind and storm and it wasn’t even too cold. Winds were blowing from the south (scirocco = mild) and southwest (libeccio = a little colder) and for a few hours, the winds seemed to announce the worst. Acqua alta eccezionale surpassing the level of 155 cm.For most of the time we managed to stay dry. Also because part of our special photo shooting took place in the banqueting rooms of a Venetian luxury hotel on the Grand Canal.
That Sunday night between 6 and 7 pm you could see workers of the Comune di Venezia go about setting up the passarelle in all low-lying areas in town, for example in Campo San Salvador, along Calle Mandola and of course in Piazza San Marco.
At about 8 pm the wind changed direction. Gusts of bora arrived and the minute I felt the ice-cold breeze on my face I knew the waters would recede. You see, when there’s bora, a cold northerly wind, water is pressed out from the Lagoon into the Adriatic sea. This wind hasn’t spared Venice from (severe) flooding for the first time, it also saved our town on 4 November 1966.
29 February in Venice came with mixed weather. Showers, pale sun, showers on and off. Still the drab colors you can see in the pictures but livened up with soft spring green and yellow daffodils that you can find now all over Venice.
It was too wet even for cats and they were looking for refuge everywhere, also on abandoned restaurant tables.
The wet days will continue in spring, a natural phenomenon of the Mediterranean climate. After all, summers – usually – were parching dry (not so in the last 2-3 years) and plants need to soak up as much water as they can get in spring to survive.
Now imagine a complete change to the setting. On March 1, Venice held a big surprise for all of us. We made the trip from winter into spring in just a few hours !
The sky turned peach and soft and milky like a pearl and the water was suddenly tinted with a million shades of peach as well. Take a look and fully enjoy the lights reflected on the water. I did enjoy my vaporetto ride on that day !!
Join me in the gallery below for this brief ride on the vaporetto, with the first lights of spring – Bentornata primavera a Venezia.
This is how Venice would have welcomed you, had you arrived at the train station Santa Lucia on the first day of March.