Venice has carried out the first successful tests on a new flood barrier system designed to save the historic Italian city from rising tides.
The Mose project – adapted in English to Moses after the biblical prophet who parted the Red Sea – put its head above water as four large floodgates rose from the depths in the east of the lagoon.
The mayor of Venice described it as a very important and moving moment – the first major test for a project involving 50 companies that has cost over five billion euros.
When the system is completed, 78 such gates will stretch across the lagoon’s three inlets, to keep the sea at bay.
The project has been under construction for ten years but has been dogged by corruption and delays caused by the economic crisis.
Venice is notoriously vulnerable to flooding and “acqua alta” – the Adriatic’s high tide water. The city sank by 23 centimetres during the 20th century.
Barring further delays, the Mose project is due to be completed in 2016.