Three hours before it happens sirens blare across the city. They sound a lot like the the air raid sirens of World War Two and they’re almost as eerie, too.
This day they had sounded off at dawn. It was wet and murky, a far cry from the serene sunrises and sunsets of the previous days (see Blue Venice for those).
At Piazza San Marco, Venice’s main square, the water crept over the top of the steps. As one of the lowest points of Venice it’s always the first place to flood.
The flooding of Venice, known as “acqua alta”, happens quite regularly and most often in the winter months. It’s linked to the sea’s tides, but it’s still not exactly predictable. After some research I discovered that November often brings several acqua altas, and this only encouraged me go to more.
And I wasn’t disappointed. In another hour or two the whole of the Piazza was under water.
Raised boards are put up along the main streets and squares for the never ending streams of tourists to walk dryly upon.
Elsewhere, life goes on:
The gondoliers and other users of the canals face some tight squeezes during acqua alta:
But they seem to handle it in their stride.
After wandering around the interior streets of Venice, I headed back to the Piazza. The water had risen even more:
But in another hour it had completely disappeared.