Aqua Alta in Venice: What You Need to Know

The whole world knows that Venezia has a serious issue of rising tides brought on by melting glaciers and global warming. Venezia/ Venice is a unique and beautiful city which has had to adjust and live with this inconvenience of frequent flooding which now affects everyday life for the 55,000 or so who live there full time.

Does it really affect the tourists.? In one word yes.

It affects the population, so it is obvious that it affects travelers too. We have to adjust just like the Venetians do and wade through it. But it is important to note, that the entire city does not flood everywhere every time.

Venice has six sestiere which are neighborhoods, and most travelers choose to visit the area of San Marco. There are lower parts in the city which flood first and unfortunately the piazza of San Marco is one of those spots.

I was in Venice on December 13 this year and prior to going there, like all of you, I believed the entire church of St Marco was flooded inside. This statement is not completely true. On Friday the water reached CM 110 at high tide (moon was almost full as well) and indeed the passerelle (or raised footbridges) were needed.  See the short video above. The passerelle are almost a permanent fixture in winter since the walkways are very present in certain areas of the city. It is up to the walker to decide if you need to use it to traverse the flooded area or not. It is in the best interest of a pedestrian to use them to cross flooded areas if you do not wish to have your feet wet.

When waters are high (which is above 90CM), the vestibule of the church of St Marks floods, the entire church does not.  VeniceAqAlta

Bring waterproof shoes, or if you prefer to keep your suite case of this cumbersome item, then you can purchase any variety of rubber boots to fashionable yellow plastic knee high bags with a rubber sole either type for Eu 15 a pair sold around the city. But don’t wait to buy them as vendors sell out quickly. And then stroll around the city like the rest of us.

APP Download HI!Tide Venice -app which tells you where the expected flooding is in the city, and at what time of day and also reports the current conditions so you can plan your route. Don’t miss Venice just because it floods.

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Guest Sunday, 21 July 2024



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