One of the most ancient churches of Venice, a Byzantine basilica established in the year 639, counts among the 60 churches damaged in three exceptional floods last week, officials said Tuesday.
The ancient Santa Maria Assunta Basilica, and the adjacent Santa Maria Fosca church, were “abundantly flooded” three times last week, with the lagoon salt water seeping into mosaic floors and the marble columns, said Alessandro Polet, spokesman for the Venice Patriarchy said.
The basilica and its mosaic floors have been cleaned with fresh water, but the extent of the damage will take time to assess. “Damage from salt water you only see after time,’’ Polet said.
Because the salt water penetrates the building materials, damage is often much higher and deeper than the actual water levels. Due to its position in the lagoon, the water took longer to recede than from the historic center of Venice.