The Grand Canal and the Giudecca Channel appear nearly empty in the 2020 photo, compared to the year prior, where boats filled the waterways. Further from the islands, Venice’s waters appear to be a darker blue hue this year.
Italy announced a country-wide lockdown in March, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The country, which is one of the hardest-hit in the world, has faced 168,941 COVID-19 cases, and 22,170 people have died from the virus.
Venice is usually a highly-trafficked tourist location in the spring, but since going under lockdown, the city has been quiet. The lockdown drastically reduced movement on the area’s waterways, which are usually filled with gondolas, water taxis, and cruise ships.
According to the Italian news agency, ANSA, Venice was almost empty over Easter.
Here’s what the canals looked like in December 2019, before the the coronavirus lockdown went into effect:
Here’s what the waterways looked like in March 2020, just weeks into the coronavirus lockdown:
The office of Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro told CNN in March that less traffic on the waterways drastically altered the color of the water in the canals, likely because sediment has finally been able to settle.
“The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom,” a spokesman said. “It’s because there is less boat traffic that usually brings sediment to the top of the water’s surface.”
The spokesman said the air quality has increased, too, thanks to fewer motorboats on the canals.
According to the ESA, the lockdown has helped improve air quality across Europe.
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