The sound of sirens: warning tones of rising tides in Venice.

This is such a forlorn sound, especially recorded in my quiet calle, and hearing it echo beyond. I didn’t make it to the window in time to record the one air-raid siren preceded these, but the tones here indicate how high a water level you can anticipate, and are erie enough to give you pause. There is a sensation of being under seige…

The pops you hear throughout the short recording are raindrops spitting on the microphone. I’ll use a windscreen next time.

You hear only two of the four tones, any more mean higher water. I expect to hear all four of them later tonight, as the SMS notification I just received predicts 140 cm by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. The water didn’t completely subside from the earlier tide, you see, and there’s a full moon, which only increases the effects.

Was heading out for pizza this evening with friends…l’abbiamo rinviato, needless to say…

14 thoughts on “The sound of sirens: warning tones of rising tides in Venice.

  1. Shawn

    I can’t wait til I’m not in the library and can listen to your recording, complete with raindrops and calle echoes!

    My recollection of the new, rising warning tones is that they’re very science fiction-y. Or like something you’d hear at Epcot Center. Or perhaps a prelude to a post-modern apocalypse (not to put too fine a point on it).

  2. nan

    The good news: not nearly as extreme as predicted. Still forecasting two high tides of 130cm before Saturday. If we get through that, we should have a bit of respite.

  3. jk

    Grazie – I’ve been very curious about these sounds, as I’ve read about the new sirens and wondered what it actually sounded like!

  4. Jane

    The sirens are so eerie and sad, with a forlorn sweetness about the tones. The raindrops made me think of tears. But perhaps I say so because I have a tendency to anthropomorphize Venice. It is so vulnerable and beautiful and I do love it so. I sit here, warm and dry, on the coast of Oregon, waiting for the first, big rain and wind storm of the season to come barreling in, and, as much as I love the intensity and utter enormity of these coastal storms, as well and the rugged beauty of the coast, every night before I go to bed, I look at the Venice webcams. Silly, maybe, but there it is.

    I hope all of you are warm, safe and dry, and that your lovely city is safe, warm and dry as can be, as well….

  5. Mary Comber

    I can’t seem to find a working webcam for Venice, try as I may. Would appreciate an address! Did the warning sirens get to three on Thursday?

  6. Jane

    This is the one I use. The big webcam for the Grand Canal isn’t working, but if you scroll down, there are five others that are. The Piazza San Marco, and the Canale di Noale refresh every 12 seconds. The Canale di Noale is especially lovely early in the morning..



  7. marisa

    As with everything in Venice, the siren is melodic but gave me the chills. I visit the webcams every day and despair when I see the water level. When I was in Venice in February, the water was too low–now… A city of extremes.

  8. Jane

    That’s great Nan – less bouncing around the internet for me! I love your blog. Another site, along with the webcams, that I visit nightly, just in case something new is posted… Take care, and greetings from the snowy Oregon coast!

  9. Christopher

    WOW….the mother ship is about to burst through the clouds to make contact!! How scary sounding. I remember hearing the old siren when I was living on the Giudecca in ’98 during grad school. I don’t know why I didn’t record it. Part of my project was how sound shapes the built environment. I taped typical walks through the city and they still have a way of transporting me back! It’s a meditation for me! Hope you’re well and have a very happy holiday : )

  10. Mary Comber

    The Rialto camera seems to be the only one working now, but thank you for that. Now I must remember to look during daylight hours! Buena Natale!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *