We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Karen's tips for dealing with Aqua Alta days

Ciao tutti!

Everywhere you look on the news, there is some article or photo of high water (flooding) in Venice over the last month. Not to be outdone, I thought I should post something as well.

Here's a photo of high water in St. Mark's square one day last week, about calf deep.

I've been getting emails a-plenty from friends and acquaintances far and wide asking if we are ok, is there much damage, is Venice underwater.  Yes, I also saw the photos of tourists swimming in St. Mark's square on Nov 11.

 What you need to understand is that Aqua Alta is tidal. It comes in with the tide and also goes out with the tide, meaning that it is in and out within six hours, normally. Venetians are quite used to this, and they prepare for it, it's just another thing they take in stride. Only if there is unusually high water is there any damage, such as the very unusual Aqua Alta of November 1966. Generally speaking, the Aqua Alta we get on a fairly regular basis here is not that high, perhaps only 6-10 inches deep. And so, we wear our boots, and life goes on.

To be on the safe side, I have some tips for managing an Aqua Alta day in case you are planning a trip to Venice. No, don't cancel the trip just because it is the winter and it's high water season. Just prepare for it and all will be fine.

Karen's tips -

1) Buy a pair of boots!  Disposable boots are available all over the city. Not cheap, but less than buying a  regular pair of gum ( green Wellington) boots, which are also available lots of places for between 15-25 Euros per pair.

2) Relax and enjoy it. Take photos. Lot's of them. Consider yourself one of the lucky tourists to get to see Aqua Alta up close and personal.

3) Platforms to walk on will be set up in ST. Mark's square and Rialto area. Use them to walk on to keep your feet out of the water. DON"T piss off any of the cops while you are walking on the platforms. They will be screaming "Avanti, Avanti" attempting to get everyone moving along briskly. Keep moving. They just hate it if you stop and hold up the line, which starts them yelling at you. Keep moving, you will avoid some Italian hate and discontent.

4)  If Aqua Alta happens on the day you are coming into Venice, wait it out at the airport or train station instead of trying to get out in it. Let the water receed first. then try to get to your hotel. If you have hired a private water taxi, don't be surprised if they cannot get precisely to your desired destination because they can't get under some bridges due to low clearance. Just remember I warned you about this when they drop you off a few bridges away from where you need to get to, and you end up having to carry suitcases up and over all those extra steps.  Try to smile and go with the flow. And remember, the high water will be out of there in just a few hours.

5) If Aqua Alta happens on a day when you need to be traveling out of the city, leave Venice and make your way out of the city as soon as you hear the warning sirens. Better to spend a few extra hours at the airport gate or train station than to be stranded in Venice waiting out for the water to receed.  Often when the water is especially high, certain vaporettos don't run at all and water taxis can't get under some bridges. You might very well be forced to walk to the train station if you have a train to catch. Avoid this, leave early while you can get some boat transportation.  Much less hassle and you will be dryer and happier for it.


Caro Drake said...

That sound like very sensible advice!
We are having a week in Venice next Feb, so notes have been duely taken!!!!

Davide Derton said...

for those who go to Venice recommend buying boots handbag GOLDON www.goldon.it

karen said...

Davide- Goldon is a good brand to buy. We're seeing several shops carrying them now. The boots come with a carry bag.