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The Great Sea Walls

Murazzi between Pellestrina and Ca' Roman

Long before MOSE, the Venetians defended the narrower sections of the Lido, Pellestrina and other barrier islands that skirt the Lagoon from erosion caused by storms and high tides with walls made of stakes and gravel. They never lasted long.

It was a priest, Vincenzo Coronelli, who proposed a more permanent solution: defending the coast with a mighty sea wall made of huge blocks of Istrian stone. Begun in 1714, and completed between 1744-82 under engineer Bernardino Zendrinito, the Murazzi are 14m wide, and when their various stretches are added together, they measure 20km: the longest bit is the 10km stretch along Pellestrina.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Gvf, GNU free documentation license