We’ve had several days with high water lately here in Venice. Not extreme high water, but enough to be a burden for the locals and an amusement for the tourists.

The city canals are very quiet when the tide goes above a certain level, as most boats can no longer pass under the bridges, and we had planned to go paddling to enjoy having the city’s waterways mostly to ourselves.

First thing to notice is that at high tide there is quite a bit of rubbish and other stuff floating around, like this part of a bridge or dock.

Floating debris

Give the lack of traffic we quickly gravitated towards San Marco, here from the front.

View of St. Mark's

Here’s a gondola stuck under a bridge by the rising water, just behind Piazza San Marco.

This gondola isn't going anywhere

This is the view from the canal behind the square onto the Piazza San Marco. This is the lowest point level entry to the square, but there is far to little water to do any kind of stupidity.

Passage to the Piazza San Marco

I got out of the kayak and walked in though the water and found this view.

The Piazza San Marco under water

Flooding in Piazza San Marco starts in front of the basilica at a very normal level of 75-80cm, and at a level of 110cm there are up to 30cm of water on parts of the square.

Just because you can paddle in, doesn’t mean you can’t get in. While I was surveying the situation, one of the others came in pulling the kayaking along, just to get a few photos.

Piazza San Marco with one kayak

One then drags the next person in.

Piazza San Marco with another kayak arriving

While not exactly legal, the situation does create some photo ops.

Which a good deal of others onlookers weren’t late to spot.

The others waited patiently for those fifteen minutes of fame (or infamy) to pass.

Others care a bit less

While tourists in their tourist high water protection gear watched baffled.

Tourists in tourist boots

After San Marco the tour went to the Grand Canal and the Rialto where the Erberia was covered in a bit of water.

Kayaks at the Rialto - Erberia

Somebody managed to get interviewed by national television (again).

(screencapture from a video)

On our way back, passing San Marco again, we met this gondola.

Porcelino sulla gondola

Which carried a rather untraditional addition to the stern.

Porcelino sulla gondola

The water level was still high, and the gondola couldn’t pass the first bridge after the Bridge of Sighs, and had to turn around while we waited.

Gondola turning around because it cannot pass the bridge

Most of the fondamenta (sidewalks) had water up at the edge, which usually corresponds to a water level of between 100cm and 110cm.

Water still at street level


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