In May 2023, Romagna, an Italian historical region encompassing the southeastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna in North Italy, experienced a month of unparalleled catastrophe. The region was besieged by a relentless series of floods that ravaged cities such as Bologna, Cesena, Forlì, Faenza, Ravenna, and Rimini within the Emilia-Romagna territory. The initial floods occurred between 2 and 3 May, tragically claiming the lives of two individuals. However, the most devastating deluge struck on 16–17 May, resulting in the loss of at least 15 lives and displacing a staggering 50,000 people.
The same amount of rain which usually falls in seven months fell in two weeks, causing the overflow of 23 rivers across the region. In some areas, almost half the annual average of rain fell in only 36 hours. Moreover, 400 landslides occurred in the area and 43 cities and towns were flooded. The provisional cost of the damage caused by the floods amounts to more than €7 billion.
In a world where flooded cities and countryside evoke vivid imagery, it becomes increasingly challenging to visualize the astonishing sight of a flooded sea. The repercussions of floods on marine ecosystems manifest themselves through the mesmerizing phenomenon of "alluvial sediments" or "river plumes." These phenomena arise from the rapid erosion of soil during heavy rainfall, subsequently flushing copious amounts of sediment into the awaiting arms of the sea. It is in this convergence of elements that nature's hand creates breathtaking artistry. Over the course of the aforementioned floods, "alluvial sediments" colored more than 33 kilometers of the Romagna shoreline, making them clearly visible even from outer space.
Sedimenta is not merely a scientific endeavor. It is a photographic project offering a glimpse into the fragile relationship between our actions and the environment's response. This project aims to evoke contemplation and introspection, urging us to recognize our collective responsibility in the face of climate change. As we navigate through these photographs, we bear witness to the extraordinary power and resilience of nature, showcasing both the destructive potential of our actions and the poetic beauty that emerges from the aftermath.
For reference, hereunder is a series of four images showing the mouths of the four main rivers of Romagna on 23 May, 5 May, 4 May, 30 April.
The project was made possible thanks to modified Copernicus Sentinel-2 L2A data (2023), obtained via EOS DATA ANALYTICS, Inc, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.