Venice, The Sinking City Movie – The Italian Job

(Last Updated On: January 16, 2017)

Venice, The Sinking City Movie

Film: The Italian Job

Venice in Winter by Hernan Piñera CC-2.0

Venice in Winter by Hernan Piñera CC-2.0

Grade Level: 4 – 12, CollegeVenice is sinking. The city is built on top of millions of wooden piles that were sunk into the marshy ground about a thousand years ago. The marsh is the problem. The wooden posts have been sinking at the rate of approximately seven centimeters per century. Although that doesn’t sound like much, it adds up. At that rate, it would have sunk 70 centimeters over the years. A recent study by an American group, however, estimated that it sank a whopping 24 centimeters in the last century alone! Although the Venetian government believe that study is inaccurate, their own recent study shows that the city is going to sink between 20 and 50 centimeters by 2050. That sounds as though Venice’s rate of descent is increasing.

Now the city of Venice is installing a system of hinged barriers at the entrances of the lagoon to try to tame the tides that flood the city. Although this may help with the flooding, it doesn’t address the problem related to the sinking piles that hold up the buildings. Some officials are attempting to address some of the other issues facing this historic city, such as dredging debris from the canals, installing septic tanks (The city has historically dumped their sewage into the canals!), and raising some of the walkways above high tide levels.

Perhaps the people of Italy will be able to save this beautiful city before it slips into the depths of the marsh.

Geography, History

Film: The Italian Job

MPAA Rating: PG – 13

Keywords: Venice the sinking city, Venice Italy, Venice, the dams of Venice, saving the sinking city of Venice, saving Venice, ClassBrain, Movies in the Classroom, teaching with movies, teaching with films, geography, Italy

Author: Cynthia Kirkeby
Affiliation: ClassBrain, Inc.
Date: 7 June 2003
Duration: 1-2 Classes

Background: The beginning of the Italian Job takes place in Venice, Italy. Boats fly through the canals during high-speed chases, classic buildings are blown up to facilitate a heist, and the city of Venice will never be the same. Learn more about this unusual city that is slowly sinking into the marshy lagoon.

Project: Read about the problems facing this ancient city, and design your own project to help Venice survive into the next century.

Topics: Sinking buildings
Rising Waters
Water damaged artwork

Learning Links for The Italian Job

Gondolas in Venice

Gondolas in Venice

Architecture of Venice, Italy
Learn about some of the most famous buildings in Venice.

Dan Heller Photography
Dan makes Venice come to life in film. His photographs are absolutely exquisite! Enjoy his photos.
Source: Dan Heller

Activities for the Safeguarding of Venice and its Lagoon
Learn what the city of Venice is doing to save the city.

Sinking City of Venice
Sinking City of Venice: Program Contents
Sinking City of Venice: Printable Activity
Source: NOVA

Maps, Burano and Venice’s other islands, itineraries, churches and more
Source: Italy Hotel Reservations

Odes to Venice
Source: Fodors

Venezia – Classic maps
Source: Historic Cities

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