Nature takes back its spaces,” one witness wrote.
It’s hard for Italians to see the bright side of the coronavirus — but at least they can now see the bottom of the Venice canals.
Stunning pictures posted online have shown the dramatic effect the lockdown has had on the famous waterways.
Members of the Facebook group Venezia Pulita — Clean Venice — are sharing incredible photographs showing the usually murky green water now flowing crystal clear.
With the impact of tourists and travel now all but completely eliminated, wildlife has flourished, with fish and birds returning to the submerged streets in their droves.
“Incredible images of the Rio dei Ferali, behind San Marco square, usually murky,” one member wrote. “Nature takes back its spaces.”
“You can see the bottom,” another wrote. “Never seen anything like it.”
La bellezza salverà il mondo in una Burano deserta i cigni si riappropriano dei canali….
“Nature that repairs the mistakes of men,” a third added.
A spokesperson for the Venice Mayor’s office told CNN the quality of the water hasn’t actually improved, but rather the culling of boat traffic means the sediment is not being stirred from the bottom.
“The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom,” the spokesman said. “It’s because there is less boat traffic that usually brings sediment to the top of the water’s surface.”
The air quality, however, has improved thanks to the reduction in traffic.
Outside the originating country of China, Italy has been hardest hit by covid-19, by far.
More than 35,000 people there have been infected now, accounting for one in every six of the world’s confirmed cases.
Almost 3,000 of the planet’s 9,000 fatalities have also been in Italy.
The country remains in total lockdown, with bars, restaurants, salons, internal travel, tourism, weddings, funerals and large social gatherings all banned, while police are issuing fines to anyone out in public without good reason. Supermarkets and pharmacies are the only retailers allowed to remain open.