'Forgotten island' in Venice where residents say they've been abandoned amid floods
17 November 2019, 20:18 | Updated: 18 November 2019, 02:17
All eyes have been on Venice after historic flooding of the city's most treasured and iconic locations, such as St Mark's Square.
The city experienced a third exceptionally high tide in less than a week on Sunday, which came after the worst tide in more than half a century just five days earlier.
But all this focus on protecting famous landmarks has left the people living on the island of Pellestrina, one of the worst-affected islands in the Venetian lagoon, feeling forgotten and abandoned.
Here, many of the island's 5,000 residents say the city of Venice has taken precendence over them.
Vincenzo Vianello, 90, has spent all his life on Pellestrina. On Tuesday, he said he felt he was reliving the nightmare of a record-breaking flood in 1966 that entirely submerged the island.
"We lost the fridge and kitchen that time and the same has happened again this time, everything in the house was flooded, we had to throw everything again," he said.
Mario Scarpa, another Pellestrina resident, broke his foot while trying to save his kitchen and appliances when the high tide broke into the house.
"It was really scary because it all happened in the middle of the night," he said.
"Suddenly a big wave burst into the house and all the electricity went off. I couldn't see anything and in a few minutes I found myself on the floor."
Mario's son, Jacopo Scarpa, is angry. Pointing at the broken water pumps that should keep the island safe, he said: "They need to stop taking the mickey out of us, we are fed up.
"The water pumps are not working and the maintenance is not good. We feel completely left behind as we always end up cleaning and managing everything by ourselves."
Pellestrina may be a small strip of land, but the voices of its residents are getting louder.
They say their needs remain in second place behind the city of Venice and its famous architecture, and they are asking whether protecting the city's history should take priority over their future.