• Italy's news in English
 

'Venice is being dragged through the mud'

Published: 04 Jun 2014 15:02 GMT+02:00

Mayor Giorgio Orsoni, who belongs to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party, was placed under house arrest on Wednesday morning in a sweeping corruption investigation into the multi-billion-euro flood barrier project to save the island city from rising sea levels.

Prosecutors have also called for the arrest of Giancarlo Galan, a senator and former president of Veneto, as well as European Parliament member Lia Sartori - both from former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (Go Italy) party.

READ MORE HERE: Venice mayor arrested in corruption probe

The scandal engulfed Venice at the start of peak tourist season, with the arrival looming of most of the 20 million visitors who come to the famous canal city every year.

"Today is a sad day for the entire city. Our name is being dragged through the mud," Scarpa said in a statement.

"The local political class needs to change the way it operates... We need new, honest and clean faces," he said.

Political corruption was also major reason behind calls for Veneto independence from the rest of Italy earlier this year.

READ MORE HERE: Why Italy might not exist in five years

Meanwhile, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement was quick to seize on the scandal as an example of political corruption involving members from both the ruling centre-left Democratic Party and the main opposition Forza Italia party.

Luigi Di Maio, a leading member of the Five Star Movement, said on his Facebook page.

"What more do these parties need to do to no longer deserve a vote from Italian citizens?"

Galan inaugurated the project together with Berlusconi but plans for the flood barrier had been discussed for decades before then - ever since a catastrophic flood in 1966.

The need for protection has become ever urgent as extensive flooding now wreaks havoc every year and new data shows the city sank 23 centimetres during the 20th century while water levels have also slowly been rising.

The total cost of the project is estimated at around €5.5 billion and involves dozens of contractors working on more than 20 kilometres of the Venice lagoon to build 78 mobile flood barriers that rise from the seabed when needed.

The "acqua alta" (high water) in Venice is caused by a combination of tides, currents and strong winds and can flood much of the city including St Mark's Square.

Don't miss a story about Italy - Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The Local List
Ten things to do in Milan when you visit Expo
There's nothing more Milanese than an aperitivo in the Navigli quarter. Photo: Irene Grassi/Flickr

Ten things to do in Milan when you visit Expo

With the World Expo in town, tourists are descending on Milan as never before. If you're one of them, check out this quick guide for a weekend in the city. READ  

Pressure on Italy after Irish gay marriage vote
Same-same couples currently have no legal status in Italy. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Pressure on Italy after Irish gay marriage vote

The Italian government is facing increasing pressure to give same-sex couples more rights after Ireland voted to legalize gay marriage, with the president of Italy's parliament arguing it's time to legislate for civil unions. READ  

Two arrested in massive migrant cash scam
Over 200,000 migrants have arrived on Italian shores since the start of 2014. Photo: Gabriel Buoys/AFP

Two arrested in massive migrant cash scam

Italian police have arrested two people as they attempted to flee the country, allegedly responsible for a vast scam using funds set aside in Campania to manage the refugee crisis. READ  

Fiorentina score spot in Europa League
Fiorentina's six-point lead over Sampdoria means their spot in next season's Europa League is secure. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

Fiorentina score spot in Europa League

Europa League semi-finalists Fiorentina secured their place in next season's competition with a stunning 3-2 win at Palermo, as Verona striker Luca Toni moved top of the Serie A scoring charts on Sunday. READ  

Kenya Catholics celebrate Italian nun
Photo: Simon Maina/AFP

Kenya Catholics celebrate Italian nun

Tens of thousands of Catholics prayed in the Kenyan town of Nyeri on Saturday at a beatification ceremony of an Italian nun, the first person to undergo the key step toward sainthood in the east African country. READ  

Italy to revisit anti-Isis plan amid growing fears
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said the anti-Isis coalition would soon meet in Paris. Photo: John Thys/AFP

Italy to revisit anti-Isis plan amid growing fears

Italy is growing increasingly concerned about the threat of Isis as the militant group makes rapid advances in Syria and Iraq. READ  

Tunisia asks Italy to extradite Bardo suspect
Flowers and messages of condolences outside Tunisia's Bardo National Museum. Photo: Fethu Belaid/AFP

Tunisia asks Italy to extradite Bardo suspect

Tunisia has asked Italy to extradite a Moroccan suspected of involvement in the deadly attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis in March, the interior ministry said on Friday. READ  

'Grexit' poses medium-term risks to euro: Italy
Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan (R) and his Greek counterpart Yanis Varoufakis speak at a meeting at the European Council, in Brussels. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

'Grexit' poses medium-term risks to euro: Italy

Greece crashing out of the euro, or 'Grexit', doesn't pose a short-term risk to the shared European currency but a medium-term one as it demonstrates that the union is not permanent, Italy's finance minister said on Friday. READ  

Italy’s ex-foreign minister wins cancer battle
Emma Bonino has overcome her battle against cancer. Photo: Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italy’s ex-foreign minister wins cancer battle

Italy’s former foreign minister Emma Bonino has overcome her battle against lung cancer. READ  

Producer warns of global Prosecco shortage
Leading Prosecco producer Bisol has warned of a possible shortage of the tipple this summer. Photo: Dinner Series

Producer warns of global Prosecco shortage

Sales of Prosecco surged last year but lovers of the Italian bubbly might want to moderate their drinking amid fears of a global shortage. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Sponsored Article
Student life in Rome
National
Italy starts to show the strains of migrant influx
Migrant gets permit for saving drowning woman
Features
Rude Italian terms that just don’t translate
National
Amazing Italian homes for less than €100,000
Politics
'UK exit from the EU would be a disaster'
Features
Forgotten resistance: Italian freedom fighters
National
5 reasons why Italy is on the up
VIDEO: How to stay clean while floating in space
National
Italians welcome 'royal baby' born on boat
National
Life's better in Italy, say expat mums
National
Are Italians becoming boozier than the Brits?
Travel
Ten must-see places within reach of Rome
National
Italian astronaut has first espresso in space
Politics
Italy approves radical new electoral law
International
Brits in Italy could face health 'black hole'
National
Top ten problems of growing up multilingual
National
How to live in Italy without speaking Italian
Politics
Revealed: the Italians who worship Mussolini
National
My Italian habits that foreigners just don’t get
Culture
Illnesses that only seem to strike Italians
Ferrara lawyers want crucifixes back in court
National
'Italy’s probably the worst place for business'
Ten ways Italians celebrate Easter
National
'I don’t see signs of a turn in the economy'
Business & Money
Ten 'Italian' firms that aren't actually Italian
Opinion
Why are Italians such crazy drivers?
Culture
Pompeii Villa boosts Italy heritage hopes
National
'I want Knox extradited if verdict upheld': lawyer
Culture
Seven ways to get tongue-tied in Italian
Technology
Scientists reconstruct DNA from fascist sperm
National
Italian police: 'Isis flag' was jacket in tree
National
Furore over Naples nude nun billboard
Politics
Berlusconi: Two decades of courtroom saga
Health
Italy's C-section rate among Europe's highest
National
Rome bans Ben Hur filming at ancient site
International
Why Libya is ringing alarm bells in Italy
National
How Islamic college plan has split Italian town
National
James Bond's best Italian moments
Sport
Purrfect catch: Italian twins land giant catfish
National
VIDEO: Massive sinkhole opens up in Naples
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,595
jobs available