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Things to Do

After the Flood: Venice Is Ready and Waiting


Venice experienced the worst flooding in recent memory, but it's business as usual in this city of water and bridges.


In November 2019, Venice, Italy, experienced its worst flooding — or acqua alta — in 50 years. A phrase Venetians know all too well, acqua alta translates to "high water," and it comes rushing out of the mouths of locals from autumn to spring, when northern Sirocco winds sweep along the Adriatic Sea, pushing seawater into the Venetian Lagoon. There, it combines with the tides to coalesce into super surges that can reach up to six feet above sea level and flood city squares.

Acqua alta shouldn't stop you from visiting the famed Renaissance city on the water. On the contrary, the flooding that overwhelmed the city this year should inspire you to grab your galoshes and book a trip to this northern Italian city known for valiantly and resiliently mopping up before the floods have even started to recede. In fact, as of early December, the city's best hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops are all open and welcoming travelers. Buildings still stand. Cafés still serve espresso. Trattorias are still making pizza. 

The MOSE Project is a system of gates installed at the inlets to the Venetian Lagoon. A work in progress for over a decade, it is finally nearing completion. But it's not completed yet and might not be for quite some time. Once functional, a series of gates will rise from the floor the lagoon and block off the inlets at whatever height is necessary to prevent high tides from infiltrating the lagoon. This should, in theory, protect Venice from future extreme flooding, but, as with all things in life, nothing is for certain.

In short, there's no reason to cancel an impending trip or delay planning a future one. Without tourist dollars spent in hotels, souvenir shops, gondola rides, and museum tours, Venice would never be able to clean up so quickly or efficiently. So, why not support this buoyant and ever-ready city by booking your next vacation in one of these great hotels?

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