Residents of Venice, Italy woke up to a mysterious bright green patch of water in the city's central waterway on Sunday.
The phenomenon could be seen along an embankment near the Rialto Bridge, which expanded throughout the day. The incident has sparked an investigation involving the police, the local environmental agency, and other local bodies.
Luca Zaia, head of the Veneto region, tweeted that an "urgent meeting" had been convened to discuss the green swath of water.
🟢🟢🟢 Stamattina nel #CanalGrande di #Venezia è apparsa una chiazza di liquido verde fosforescente, segnalata da alcuni residenti all’altezza del Ponte di Rialto.— Luca Zaia (@zaiapresidente) May 28, 2023
Il prefetto ha convocato una riunione urgente con le forze di polizia per approfondire l’origine del liquido. pic.twitter.com/te0JVCfodQ
In a statement from the regional environmental agency, an initial analysis of the water suggested that there were no substances deemed harmful to the environment (and people?), and that more tests will be conducted today.
The waters in #Venice’s main canal have turned fluorescent green in the area near Italy’s renowned #RialtoBridge. Italian authorities are looking into the causes of the abnormal water pigmentation around the landmark Rialto Bridge.#PoliticalUprising pic.twitter.com/c2ag56Mnr0— Political Uprising (@Political_Up) May 28, 2023
The agency has offered up one possibility; a water soluble dye called fluorescein.
The incident was reminiscent of when Argentine artist Nicolás García Uriburu released fluorescein into the Grand Canal during the 1968 Venice Biennale. The dye temporarily turned the water phosphorescent, and the act was cast as a way to promote ecological awareness. On Sunday, local media suggested that an environmental group could have been responsible. -WaPo
In May, environmental activists from Last Generation climate action stepped into Rome's Trevi Fountain and poured diluted charcoal into the water to protest the use of fossil fuels. According to the Post, the group has repeatedly staged acts of civil disobedience across Italy, including the spray painting of historical buildings and throwing soup on a Van Gogh painting.