Behind the scenes at the Venetian carnival.

As the famous Venetian carnival kicked of this weekend, with elegant masked figures everywhere and the city at its best, it’s hard to imagine that this magical, amazing, unique city is sinking. Or maybe it’s not so difficult. Well travelled holiday makers may well have experienced the town’s ‘acque alte’ (high waters) when the lagoon’s seawater floods the city and locals and tourists have to walk on raised walkways to get around.

On average Venice now has 100 floods a year, as the marshy land the city sits on has lowered by about 11 inches over the last century and climate change has caused the sea level to rise at an alarming rate, reports BBC Travel.

Italy has been working on a plan to protect the city since the Great Flood of 1966 destroyed $6 billion worth of art and now the MOSE Project (named after Moses and the parting of the Red Sea), a system of floodgates, will begin operating next year. But despite government spending of more than $7 billion, experts are still unsure whether MOSE can save Venice, seeing the floodgates as a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Environmentalists also worry that they may damage the lagoon's ecosystem and harm its wildlife.

Experts all agree that Venice is in serious trouble. People may be revelling in this year’s carnival, but will our great grand-children have that privilege? All is not lost however. If the floodgates don’t work, Unesco and the European Union may eventually help to find a long-term solution to save this wonderful World Heritage Site.

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