The Fifth Siren, a podcast by FILL

The Fifth Siren is a project by FILL (Festival Italian Literature London) Productions, supported by ICI London and Banor Capital

When the high tide reaches Venice, four sirens are sounded to warn the population of the incoming danger. Each one of them represents a growing level of emergency, the level of the rising water. Yet there is no sound after the last siren. In 2019, when the storm hit the city, nothing could have prepared Venetians for the level of destruction it was going to bring.

This is how The Fifth Siren was born. Venice becomes the nexus where many global crises come together – environmental, cultural, social, technological. We aim to alert and explore what is beyond it: the many challenges we have to confront when facing an unknown future

In each episode leading scientists, activists, scholars and writers (including Salvatore Settis, Guy Standing, Adam Lowe, Marigusta Lazzari, Markus Reyman, Karl Appuhn, Filippo de Vivo, Sophia Psarra, Rachel Armstrong, Andrea Segre, Giacomo Salerno, Alvise Papa, Fantina Madricardo, Georg Umgiesser, Tommaso Cacciari, Solène Rivoal, Franco Schenkel and Tommaso Gastaldi) explore the past, present and future of the city. The Fifth Siren is an ongoing conversation with the city, which long ago was a myth, and today is a cautionary tale to be told.
The Fifth Siren is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and on


Trailer: Available from Monday 27 September.

Episode 1: Water. Available from Monday 4 October. On November 13, 2019, an exceptionally high tide hits Venice, creating damage the city has not seen before. People’s homes and shops are destroyed, the power cuts off and the city plunges into a dark, desperate night, trying to rescue what it can. Could this have been foreseen?
Episode 2: Veniceland. Available from Monday 11 October. Venice is a city full of possibilities, but it wears many disguises, disclosing only what it wants. For this very reason people are lured by its charm. Can its historical and cultural complexity survive the fate of becoming a playground for tourists?
Episode 3: Balance. Available from Monday 18 October. Throughout its environmental history, Venice has always struggled to find a balance between the city’s economic needs and the lagoon’s delicate ecosystem. Is it even possible?
Episode 4: Memory. Available from Monday 25 October. Venice is a living archive of historical memories, collected through centuries of trade and splendor. Not only records of Venetian history, but stories from the whole world can be found in the city’s archives. Yet the greatest challenge the city is facing today is depopulation. Are the archives enough to rescue a disappearing city? And what memories can an empty city create?
Episode 5: Evolution. Available from Monday 1 November. Under threat, and the only route for survival is a change. In what way should the city transform? Is technology the contemporary religion that can ensure the future life of the city?


You might also enjoy