Venice is a famously beautiful city. But it’s also infamously touristy. All those millions of visitors equate to thousands of boats in the canals, polluting, chipping away at the foundations of the city, and stirring up sediment. So who ever thought we’d see a jellyfish in Venice?
Yet that’s exactly what biologist Andrea Mangoni found. He’s been using the COVID-19 shutdown to study marine life in Venice.
Normally, Venice’s canals are incredibly dirty. They’re the city’s roads, after all. In most cases, the quickest way from A to B is via boat. All that traffic leaves the lagoon murky and opaque. The canals are so unsanitary, in fact, that it’s normally a €3,000 fine for jumping in.
But with the recent shutdown, the canals are devoid of traffic. The big cruise ships that usually call are nowhere to be seen. The result is that Venice’s waters are more transparent than they have been in living memory.
It’s an unprecedented opportunity for biologists interested in getting a look at the undersea critters who call Venice home. By far the coolest ‘catch’ was this footage of a jellyfish swimming through the city like it’s nothing. Under normal circumstances, this just wouldn’t be possible.
Take a look:
Nature bouncing back
The COVID-19 pandemic has been deadly, demoralizing, and debilitating. But if there’s one silver lining, it’s seeing how quickly nature reclaims space when we’re not around. Perhaps, when the dust settles, little moments like this will inspire us to contemplate more peaceful coexistence with our fellow creatures.
Photographers around the world have documented nature beginning to reclaim cities during the shutdown. Throughout China, smog levels have declined to almost nothing, while Dubai has been overrun by peacocks.
The jellyfish in Venice is just the latest example of how quickly nature bounces back. That, at least, is an encouraging thought. Hopefully we can bounce back from COVID just as quickly.