Acqua alta — “high water” — is caused by high tides. Normally, it lasts a couple of hours. Even on Tuesday, when flooding was as bad as it’s been in 50 years, the city was “completely dry” three and a half hours later, says Fagarazzi.
The flooding of the past 24 hours has seen Venetians lose possessions in their homes, stock in their stores, and power — everywhere.
Major museums including Ca’ Pesaro (the modern art gallery), the Gothic Palazzo Fortuny and Ca’ Rezzonico (a museum of the 18th century) are currently closed.
The Basilica of San Marco has suffered serious damage. The 14th-century Hotel Danieli — perhaps the best-known of Venice’s hotels on the main Riva Degli Schiavoni waterfront — is closed until at least tomorrow, as is the Fenice opera house.
“I don’t know if tomorrow people will be ready, but as soon as they are, they’ll need to make money. We don’t need tourists in two weeks; we urgently need the kind who are aware of what’s happened, who will spend money in local businesses and will help those businesses make some money.”