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April 2019

November 2019

What you need to know about "acqua alta" (Venice flooding)

Spazzini collect garbage during acqua alta in Venice

ABOVE: Spazzini, or sanitation workers, pick up household trash in the Calle dei Albanesi during an acqua alta flood tide in Venice.

In the wake of the November, 2019 flooding in Venice, we thought it would be helpful to draw your attention to our acqua alta resources here and at our main travel-planning site, Veniceforvisitors.com:

Acqua Alta
This illustrated article at Venice for Visitors tells what acqua alta or "high water" is and how to prepare for it if you're going to Venice from mid-autumn through early spring.

Venice Travel Blog: Flooding
Our acqua alta index page links to a number of posts about Venice tidal flooding (including this one), featuring such topics as tidal warning sirens and forecasting apps for your iPhone or Android smartphone.

Important things to know:

  • Acqua alta is an abnormally high tide that occurs under certain weather conditions--e.g., when atmospheric pressures are low and winds from the south push water northward in the Adriatic Sea.

  • Acqua alta tends to occur seasonally (mostly from October until March or April), and it typically lasts only a few hours at a time. Just as important, it normally affects only lower-lying areas of the city (such as the Piazza San Marco, where water can seep up through the drains even in midsummer). You should not let fear of acqua alta discourage you from visiting Venice.

  • If you're visiting Venice from fall through spring, don't book ground-floor accommodation. (This isn't likely to be an issue in hotels, where rooms are usually on upper floors, but short-term apartment rentals at street level can be risky.)

  • When acqua alta does occur,  avoid frolicking in the water. Flood tides are a costly nuisance to the locals, and splashing around, kicking up water in the streets, or stripping down and swimming in front of the Basilica di San Marco isn't likely to win you any Venetian friends.


BELOW: Cheryl Imboden points to a marker on the Hotel Cavaletto & Doge Orseolo that commemorates the worst acqua alta tide in Venice's history, which occurred in November, 1966.

Marker at Hotel Cavaletto showing highest-ever flood level in Venice (1966)