Silver Lining: Animals Now Frolicking in Venice Canals

With no gondolas or motorboats to disturb, the waters are suddenly clear.

Venice canals
Getty Images

As Italy enters its second week of nationwide quarantine amidst the coronavirus outbreak, Italians have had more time than ever to stare out their windows. And increasingly, those in Venice have discovered a surprise—and one much more welcome than the lobster Kim Kardashian West found in her Calabasas driveway on Monday. Over the past week, excitement over the sight of swans in the city’s canals has shifted to the water itself—which is slowly but surely turning less green. Without gondola traffic to stir up sediment, much of the water is now actually clear enough to allow a glimpse at schools of silver fish.

Italians were quick to rejoice about the news on Twitter, where phrases like “humans are the real virus” have become a common refrain. Non-Italian Twitter users have been just as joyful, though some of the good news they’ve been sharing has been a little too good to be true. One particular popular tweet about swans returning to Venice has gotten nearly 550,000 favorites—as well as replies like “You actually posted a photograph of my hometown, Burano, the swans live in the lagoon and have actually been there for over 20 years.” Meanwhile, the Italian behind one of the early, real viral tweets has since joined in circulating a photo of a crocodile that’s been Photoshopped, and some are still falsely under the impression that the change is due to improved water quality.

Comfortingly, the most unrealistic sightings of all are actually real. Dolphins have only very rarely been spotted in the Venetian Lagoon, but multiple people have reported seeing them around Italy. They particularly seem to be thriving in the Sardinian city of Cagliari.

The below boar sighting also seems to be genuine. Though unfortunately for Italians, the idea that a boar sighting is rare is actually fake. Wild hogs have been known to ravage portions of Venice, and we can’t forget the wild boars in Tuscany who recently sniffed out and destroyed $22,000 worth of cocaine.

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