Travel News

Keep your feet dry with the "Venice tides" iPhone app

Venice Tides app on iPhone

ABOVE: Don't look down--instead, check the local floodwater level with the Venice tides app for iPhone.

Acqua alta, or tidal flooding, is an increasingly frequent annoyance in Venice from late October through early spring. (We cover the phenomenon--and how to prepare for it--in an illustrated article at

Venice tides iOS appFortunately, the local government authorities offer plenty of advance warning via a Web site and alarm sirens most of the time, making it relatively easy to avoid low-lying areas that are likely to get covered with water when an unusually high tide pours into the Venetian Lagoon. But if you've got an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, there's an even better way to keep your Ferragamo pumps from turning into sponges: Buy the "Venice tides" mobile app, which is available from Apple's iTunes.

Venice tides isn't the only acqua alta app on the market, but it has a big advantage over its competitors: Its interface is simple, uncluttered, and easy to understand even if you've never waded through tidal charts.

Venice tides app - main screenThe main screen (photo on right) shows a building, a fondamenta (canalside sidewalk), and the water of a canal. As the acqua alta rises, so does the water on your iPhone's screen. The app also shows the current height of the tide in centimeters, compared to the street level. You can also see how high the anticipated peak tide will be and when it will occur, so you'll know if you have time to reach a local destination or get back to your hotel.

If you're curious to know what the next couple of days will bring, just turn your phone sideways. A new screen will appear, showing expected high and low tides (including times and levels in centimeters) over the next two days.

Venice tides has other features, too. You can customize the app street level to match your location within the city, and you can ask the app to send you a notification (a.k.a. a warning) before the next acqua alta occurs.

We've tried the Venice tides app, and we like it. If you plan to be in Venice for a couple of days or longer during the acqua alta season, or if you want to know whether the streets will be wet when you arrive, Venice tides is likely to be a useful tool. For more information, go to:

(Note: The full Venice tides app is inexpensive, but there's also a free "Venice tides lite" version that includes all features except for push notifications.)

BELOW: Turn your iPhone, iPad, or iPod sideways to see a two-day tidal chart:

Venice tides app - tidal chart

Photo and screen shots: Mattia Fort and Valentina Venza, Pugosoft.

imob.venezia is now the Venezia Unica city pass

imob.venezia card

PHOTO: The new Venezia Unica card is a rebranded version of the imob.venezia card shown here. (If you have a valid imob.venezia card, you can have it "enabled" as a Venezia Unica card free of charge.)

If you're a regular visitor to Venice, you probably know that the imob.venezia stored-value transit card has offered huge discounts on public transportation for the last several years. "Cartavenezia" fares, which have been available only to imob.venezia cardholders, are a fraction of the single-fare and Tourist Travel Card rates that most visitors pay.

The discounted fares are still available, but the stored-value card is now called the "Venezia Unica city pass," and it offers a few more features than the old imob.venezia version did. (Probably the most important feature for non-residents is the ability to recharge the card with fares online.)

For more information, see our Venezia Unica city pass article at

This month in London: "Beyond the Grand Canal" art exhibition by Lesley Banks

"Mask and Heart" by Lesley Banks

ABOVE: Mask and Heart by Lesley Banks, from "Beyond the Grand Canal" at London's Heartbreak Gallery.

Lesley Banks, a Glasgow-based artist, is featured in a new show titled "Beyond the Grand Canal" at the Heartbreak Gallery in London. The exhibition consists of 50 oil paintings and works on paper about people and scenes in Venice, Italy.

According to the exhibition's e-catalog, the exhibition was inspired by "the charismatic and charming people Banks met whilst in Venice. The beguiling Fiora Gandolfi was central to her discovery of a more intimate view of the City as she welcomed Banks into her world. We see glimpses of Gandolfi's glorious home, a visit to her favorite expresso bars and a trip to the Rialto fish market at dawn. Peering through the bedroom windows, we see a view of one of the many waterways and watch the mist forming across the lagoon. Through this intimate portrait, Venice comes alive and beckons you once more."

Lesley Banks was born in 1962 in Denny, Sterlingshire and studied at the Glasgow School of Art. She has exhibited extensively since 1988 in London and in Glasgow, where she continues to live and work.

"Beyond the Grand Canal" runs from October 12 through November 11, 2012. For more information, or to view JPEG images of the 50 works of art online, visit the Heartbreak Gallery's Web site at

BELOW: A café in the Campo Santa Margherita, and fog on the Riva degli Schiavoni.

Cafe in the Campo Santa Margherita, by Lesley Banks

Fog on the Riva degli Schiavoni, by Lesley Banks

Images courtesy of Lesley Banks and the Heartbreak Gallery, London.