The 1963 Vajont disaster and the devastating floods that hit the Veneto as well as other areas of Italy in 1966 brought about a significant revision of the policies on soil defense and civic protection. This was the last step in a long process of environmental management intending to build a balanced human-environmental system from the early modern period to the present. This essay explores the changing political ecology of soil and water management in the Veneto region in northern Italy. More specifically, the study traces the evolution of land reclamation works in the longue durée—in particular over the last five centuries—and the economic and social consequences of human actions on the territory. In order to fully outline the policies adopted in different historical periods, it is necessary to understand how the concept of land reclamation changed and gradually came to include drainage, hygienic, agrarian, and environmental factors, with attention paid to the specific ecologies of plains, mountains, and lagoon areas. In this long process, the changing relationships between landowners, farmers, and the state have altered human/natural interactions, with implications for land and water use.
|Regional Land Reclamation Museum of Ca' Vendramin|