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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle

Flooding of Piazza San Marco (Venice): Physical Model Tests to Evaluate the Overtopping Discharge

ICEA Department, Padova University, V. Ognissanti 39, 35129 Padova, Italy
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Water 2020, 12(2), 427; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020427
Received: 11 December 2019 / Revised: 30 January 2020 / Accepted: 1 February 2020 / Published: 5 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interaction between Waves and Maritime Structures)
This paper aims at evaluating the wave overtopping discharge over the pavement of “Piazza S. Marco” (Venice) in order to select the best option to mitigate the risk of flooding of the Piazza and to protect the monuments and historic buildings, e.g., the “Basilica S. Marco”. In fact, the MO.S.E. (MOdulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico) system is designed to keep the water level below a certain value, for the safety of the lagoon, but it does not guarantee the defence of the Piazza, where flooding is still possible, being its pavement locally much lower than the maximum expected water level. To completely defend the Piazza, specific additional works are planned to prevent the back-flow through the natural drainage system (now the primary pathway) or by filtration or by overtopping. This paper investigates on the overtopping mechanism, under conditions compatible with a fully operational MO.S.E. system, through 2-D experiments. The pavement of the Piazza is gently sloping towards the masonry quay which, in some parts is formed by 5 descending steps, and in some other parts, is just a vertical wall. Close to the “Marciana” Library, a critical part is present, with a slightly lower crest freeboard. In total, three cross-sections were examined in the 36 m long wave flume of the Padova University. The test programme includes 10 irregular wave attacks and three different water levels. The test results differ considerably from the results of the available formulas, since the investigated cross-sections by far exceed their range of applicability. The presence of the steps affects only the reflection coefficient rather than the overtopping discharges. In general, if the waves incident to the Piazza are higher than 40 cm, which is a possible scenario, some other adaptation works must be considered, such as the pavement rise, temporary barriers or the reduction of the waves impacting the quay through, for instance, floating breakwaters. View Full-Text
Keywords: Venetian lagoon; flooding; wave overtopping; astronomical tide; storm surge; experimental investigation Venetian lagoon; flooding; wave overtopping; astronomical tide; storm surge; experimental investigation
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Ruol, P.; Favaretto, C.; Volpato, M.; Martinelli, L. Flooding of Piazza San Marco (Venice): Physical Model Tests to Evaluate the Overtopping Discharge. Water 2020, 12, 427.

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