World – Severe flooding in Venice over the past week caused serious damage to some of the mosaics and columns in St Mark’s Basilica, local media reported on Tuesday.
Several floor mosaics on the right hand side of the building, featuring images of peacocks and a carpet of flowers, are among those affected, Pierpaolo Campostrini, one of the basilica’s procurators, was quoted as saying.
The bases of some marble columns have also cracked, he said.
The mosaics could still be saved, Campostrini told the Ansa news agency, but the damaged column bases would have to be replaced.
The full extent of the damage will not be known until everything has dried out, which will take several months, he added. The damage caused by sea salt is "slow but relentless," he said.
Venice has seen its worst flooding in decades over the past week. On November 12, flood waters rose to 187 centimetres above the normal sea level.
St Mark’s Square and the inside of the basilica were severely flooded, with the crypt completely submerged.