LAYING THE PROTECTIVE FLOOD BASINS

We are a week late with this posting and for those of you who are following us regularly we do apologise for the delay. However, this delay has permitted us to complete a video documenting an important phase of our meticulous restoration – the laying of the cement mats in the floating basins that will protect the ground floor areas of The Gritti Palace from the flooding caused by the acqua alta phenonenon.

Carrying out restorations in Venice is a challenging task with one of the primary difficulties being the transportation of equipment and materials to the building site. Materials and equipment must necessarily be transported by boat and manually both to-and-from the construction site, such as the concrete mixers and the large amounts of concrete required to complete the mats in the protective flood basins at The Gritti Palace. As you can imagine it was indeed a sight to see a total of nine concrete mixers operating from a barge moored off The Gritti Palace’s terrace on the Grand Canal.

Another difficulty lies in the fact that there are very few sites in Venice where cranes may be installed, and the use forklifts for the transport of raw materials is prohibited.  Yet another difficulty is not being able to use large industrial machinery due to the fact that many of the historic palaces are unable to sustain the vibration that some of these pieces transmit.

Given the presence of water, it should be remembered that construction in Venice was and is particularly complex and burdensome, due to the foundations on which the buildings and palaces rest. A composite, multi-layered system had to be invented in order to render the muddy lagoon terrain sufficiently consistent to support the structures: the lowest layer, which is wholly immersed, is composed of closely spaced wooden piles that are driven into the terrain; a wooden panel rests upon this, followed by a base of Istrian stone, on which the final structure is laid.  With the passing of time, the wooden piles undergo a process of mineralisation which consolidates the structure, leaving the piles still intact after centuries of submersion. The stone base also remains unaffected by the variable exposure caused by the tides.

The scarcity of construction materials in the lagoon, and the difficulty in recuperating them also means that the same elements are frequently re-utilised during restoration phases.

I hope you have enjoyed our video and this brief explanation of Venetian practices. Wishing you all a lovely weekend, please remember that this weekend Italy turns its clocks back an hour at 2am on Sunday morning when we switch to summer time.

Paolo Lorenzoni
General Manager

6 thoughts on “LAYING THE PROTECTIVE FLOOD BASINS

    • Dear Renata,
      Thanks for having taken the time to posting us and for your nice comment.
      We do look forward to welcoming you back in 2013.
      Best regards, Paolo Lorenzoni, General Manager

  1. Dear Paolo,
    Have been catching up on the progress of the restoration here at your blog — which I think is a terrific way to keep us involved in what for so many of us is our “Venetian home”. Trust that the staff have been well looked-after as best as possible during the closure. After all, they are what truly make the Gritti so special.
    Warm regards from Hong Kong,
    David Boyd-Thomas

    • Dear David,
      Thank you very much for your kind comment and for following the blog “The Gritti Palace Iconic Restoration”. The works proceeding well. Yes indeed, I agree with you that the staff is what makes The Gritti Palace truly special.
      Sending you by best regards, Paolo Lorenzoni, General Manager.

  2. Egreggio Signor Lorenzoni,

    Ho molto piacere di sapere che, finalmente, uno dei hoteli veneziani ha cominciato una vera restorazione. E vero che tutte le cose antiche e preciose devono essere guardati nelle buone condizione. L’hotel Palazzo Gritti e questa cosa preciosa. Imagino como dificile e la decisione di fermare l’hotel in Venezia dove ogni giorni milli turisti vengono e cercano un luogo per stare. Si tratta di soldi, della profita che l’hotel non riceva. Pero sono sicuro de che un nuovo Palazzo Gritti sera anche migliore che precedente ) Due parole di me: sono fan di Venezia, mi piace molto questa citta magnifica e serenissima. In mio blog (la stessa base che usa Lei) scrivo molto di Venezia (se puo vedere alcune articole pero in Russo – sono Russo :-). In questo momento, compongo un articolo degli hoteli veneziani. Grazie mille per il suo blog – e una evidenta significazione del’attentzone i del rispetto del Palazzo Gritti a suoi clienti. Puo essere, un giorno va cuando io sono il suo hospito. Di solito, rimango in Bauer – mi hotel preferito. Saluti cordiali, Dimitri Skorobutov.

    PS: mi scuzo per i sbagli in mio Italiano…

    • Gentile Signor Дмитрий Скоробутов,
      La ringrazio per il Suo post e apprezzo molto il Suo interesse per il nostro blog. Le vorrei assicurare che come palazzo storico il Gritti Palace manterrà la sua identità dopo il restauro. Sarò lieto di darLe il benvenuto una volta che il restauro è stato completato. Se dovesse trovarsi a Venezia prima della riapertura previsto per i primi mesi del 2013, La prego di contattarmi e sarò molto lieto di incontrarLa e mostrarLe il nostro progresso.
      Cordali saluti, Paolo Lorenzoni, General Manager

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s