Cafes and stores in Venice hit by flooding following high tide

Water level peaked at 1.27m as tourists and locals wear plastic boots, use raised walkways

People walk on catwalk set up for the  high tide.  Photograph: Luca Bruno/AP

People walk on catwalk set up for the high tide. Photograph: Luca Bruno/AP

 

Tourists and Venetians alike have donned high boots and taken to temporary raised walkways to slosh through the high water that has hit much of the lagoon city.

Venice’s tide forecast office said the water level peaked at 1.27m on Tuesday morning but warned that an even higher tide was forecast for after nightfall.

The high water invaded cafes, stores and other businesses. Sirens warned people in Venice of the rising water, and as a precaution, authorities closed nursery schools.

A photographer takes pictures in a flooded St Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy on Tuesday. Photograph: Luca Bruno/AP
A photographer takes pictures in a flooded St Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy on Tuesday. Photograph: Luca Bruno/AP
People stand inside a flooded cafe in Venice on Tuesday. The high tide reached a peak of 127cm (4.1ft) at 10:35am while an even higher level of 140cm(4.6ft) was predicted for later Tuesday evening. Photograph: Luca Bruno/AP
People stand inside a flooded cafe in Venice on Tuesday. The high tide reached a peak of 127cm (4.1ft) at 10:35am while an even higher level of 140cm(4.6ft) was predicted for later Tuesday evening. Photograph: Luca Bruno/AP
A woman with a child walks in the flooded St Mark’s Square in Venice. Photograph: Manuel Silvestri/Reuters
A woman with a child walks in the flooded St Mark’s Square in Venice. Photograph: Manuel Silvestri/Reuters

A top tourist attraction, the Ducal Palace, just off St Mark’s Square, tweeted that it was “open today, despite the exceptional tide”, and advised visitors to use the raised walkways leading to its entrance.

Many hotels keep disposable knee-high plastic boots handy for tourists. Venetians’ wardrobes often include over-the-knee rubber boots.

‘Acqua alta’

The high water, known locally as “acqua alta”, was amusing for tourists and a nuisance for residents going about their business, but levels were far lower than the 1.94m in the devastating November 1966 flood.

But even lower levels of the salty high water over the years take their toll on the city, eroding foundations of homes, businesses and city buildings.

Bad weather is continuing to dog Italy, with no real let-up forecast for several days.

In Policoro, a southern town in an area known for its ancient Greek ruins, a whirlwind ripped the roofs off two homes, but the occupants inside escaped injury, Italian news reports said.

In the same region of Basilicata, areas of the tourist town of Matera, famed for its Sassi former cave dwellings, were flooded after heavy rains. – PA