Venice, Italy (Patrik Andersson/Flickr)

Italy is under lockdown while COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country and claim more lives. According to reports today, March 18, about 475 people in Italy died from the virus in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to a record number of nearly 3,000.

Venice, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has hardly recovered from extreme flooding in November of last year before it was inflicted with the coronavirus outbreak. Amid this gruesome cascade of events, optimistic images emerging from the lagoon city show lucid canals and the unprecedented return of swans, fish, and even dolphins to the city’s waters as gondola traffic has been brought to a halt.

Italians are, of course, loving this silver lining. Francesco Delrio, who witnessed a boar loitering in the streets, tweeted, “Boars in the middle of my hometown, dolphins in the port of Cagliari, ducks in the fountains in Rome, Venice canals have now clean water full of fishes. Air pollution dropped. Nature is reclaiming its spaces during quarantine in Italy.”

“Seems like Corona is the vaccine and we are virus of the nature!” another Twitter user asserted.

And a third tweeted, “Awesome how nature can recover if given the opportunity.”

The Taj Mahal, another World Heritage Site, announced yesterday that it has closed to the public due to coronavirus concerns. Other iconic world landmarks that have shuttered with the break of the pandemic include the Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon West, Eiffel Tower, and the Colosseum in Rome, among others.

Editor’s note 3/20/2020 5:33pm EDT: While numerous social media posts and news reports claimed to witness dolphins in the waterways of Venice, others have disputed the news, claiming that these dolphins were recorded in the city of Cagliari on the island of Sardinia.

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...

3 replies on “Amid Lockdown, Optimistic Photos Show Dolphins and Swans Return to Venice”

  1. Its not the absence of gondolas, which are not motorized, but the vaporettos and most importantly the absence of cruise ships!

  2. The Dolphin was spotted in Cagliari (Sardinia) not in Venice. Dolphins in Venice is a fake news.

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