Officials in Venice attribute the unusually high tide to a heavy rainstorm in the Atlantic. 

By Andrea Romano
June 05, 2020
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Just two days after Italy reopened its borders, a flood submerged parts of Venice due to a historic high tide.

On Thursday evening, about a quarter of Venice has flooded with water up to three feet. The tide is the third-highest for the month of June in the city’s history, The Associated Press reported.

Officials in Venice attribute the unusually high tide to a heavy rainstorm in the Atlantic, and another high tide is expected on Friday night. Although the flooding is not connected to borders reopening, it could possibly disrupt tourism — especially for businesses around St. Mark’s Basilica — as locals were permitted to travel throughout the country. 

An Italian couple from Turin on holiday sitting on a table of one of Café Quadri in St. Mark's square fully covered by water.
Giacomo Cosua/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Typical flooding usually happens between September and April in their "acqua alta," or high water season. The highest tide June ever recorded happened in 2002, with waters reaching almost four feet. 

Notably, Venice endured major flooding in November of last year that cost the city at least $5.5 million in damages to St. Mark’s Basilica. Many nearby hotels offered guests disposable rainboots as they traversed the drenched city on pedestrian bridges. 

Many Venetians blamed the flooding on cruise ships that would enter the city's ports. Critics claim the waves from the ships are eroding the city’s foundation and contributed to the unprecedented flooding.

Giacomo Cosua/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Italy was under lockdown since March and lifted restrictions in phases — allowing shops and restaurants to reopen — before opening borders to travelers this week. Specifically in Venice, its famous canals looked practically crystal clear due to the decreased traffic and boats. 

This past weekend the Pope delivered an address from the Vatican where he partially spoke from the balcony in a sign of hope for the country adapting to their "new normal."

Most of Europe is waiting until June 15 to reopen borders, but some countries are waiting even longer than that.