Venice ~ Our Acqua Alta Experience October 2018

We recently made a last minute trip to Venice, and although it turned out well in the end, it was a much different Venice experience than what we usually have. We really had no plans to go back to Venice just a couple weeks before leaving Italy, but I received an email stating that one of our favorite Venice hotel had availability and even discounted rates the following week. We have stayed at Hotel Flora whenever we can since we first arrived in Italy over thirty years ago. These days, unless you book months in advance, the hotel is usually full so when I saw this email I talked to my husband, and we decided to go to Venice for two nights. When I booked the hotel, they also offered me an even more substantial discount if I paid ahead of time which made the reservation nonrefundable and not thinking about anything but saving money, I paid. Now after reading more on the subject, I found out that many hotels do offer discounted rates during this period because of acqua alta, which are the floods than ravage Venice every couple of years.

Our reservations were for Tuesday and Wednesday night, and over the weekend all of Italy was hit with torrential rainstorms. Venice began to flood Sunday, and by Monday the water in Piazza San Marco was thigh high. Of course, this was quite concerning to us as our hotel is just a few hundred meters from San Marco! We called the hotel to see if we could change our reservation only to be told that our reservation was nonrefundable and that we shouldn’t worry as the waters only rise at high tide twice a day and affect only a small percentage of Venice. We went back and forth trying to decide if we should cancel our trip and finally early Tuesday morning we decided to go and see just how bad things were. We packed our garden boots and figured if the water was too much of a problem, we could stay just one night and return home the following day.

We arrived in Venice on Tuesday morning to see many businesses closed as they struggled to clean up after the floods. The streets were a mess, and many folks were wearing boots, but the city was still crowded with tourists. The city sets up raised platforms to walk on where the flooding is the worst, and they were all in place. We checked into our hotel and saw the hotel had many pairs of boots set aside for guests to use if needed. The sun came out soon after our arrival in Venice, and throughout the day many of the small businesses had cleaned up enough to open. We visited a number of our favorite bacari (wine and tapas bars) and lunched on a couple of delicious seafood chicchetti at each which took us into the late afternoon. It is a really a fun activity to experience Venice this way, and it is one that we enjoy on every trip. By late afternoon the water began to bubble up through the sewer drains but never became too much of a problem that day.

Wednesday was another gorgeous sunny day, and Venice continued to clean up the city removing the worst of the flooding damage. The water rose Wednesday evening again, this time flooding most of Piazza San Marco although all the restaurants and cafes were still open. The tourists frolicked through the water which didn’t impress the Venicians much as for them the flooding is anything but a fun adventure. Thursday morning we packed up to head home, and it was pouring rain. I do not know if Venice flooded again on Thursday, but it wouldn’t surprise me as the sewers seem to have a problem handling too much water. Our trip ended up to be an enjoyable one, and the flooding really didn’t affect us at all. We still visited our favorite restaurants and stores and enjoyed some of the best seafood meals. I will remember in the future however not to book nonrefundable hotel stays during this period because the flooding situation could have been much worse if we had arrived on Monday when none of the water buses were even running. It is terrible that the Venetians have to deal with this problem of acqua alta every few years and I just hope that they can devise a way to save the city from this problem before all of its treasures are destroyed.

Some Of Our Favorites In Venice

Hotel Flora
San Marco 2283/A 30124 Venezia
Ph +39 041 5205844
Fax: +39 041 5228217
Email: [email protected]

Trattoria Corte Sconta
Castello 3886
Calle del Pestrin dietro riva degli Schiavoni,
30122 Venice, Italy
Ph +39 041 522 7024

Ristorante al Covo
Castello 3968
30122 Venezia
Ph +39.041.5223812

Read More About The Bacari of Venice Here!

The Raised Platforms Set Up For Folks To Walk On. You Can See The Water Rising.

Gondola Rides Were Still Popular, Floods or No Floods!

The Grand Canal At Night.

The Grand Canal.

Piazza San Marco Under Water.

Worries Of Flooding Did Not Keep The Tourists Away!

Saint Marks Square Tuesday Afternoon.

Just A Few Specialties At The Venice Market.

Deborah Mele
November 2018


  1. Thankyou for posting your pics! My husband and I were in Venice in July and we heard about the floods that occurred. I found it sad to think of those old buildings with all their beautiful items in them getting flooded. Not so good for the infrastructure of the old city either. We had been undecided on whether to go and visit Venice or not,  but it was a beautiful experience we won’t forget! Your pics reminded us of how much beauty there is there.. (touristy or not). Thanks again…?

  2. I am always amazed at the resiliency of cities/people that function no matter what Mother Nature throws at them. I just hope that all the treasures/citizens stay safe. Thanks for sharing — cheers

  3. I’ve been to Venice in the winter, but never experienced acqua alta. As you say, it might be “fun” for tourists, but the locals are not too happy about it. Sadly, it could lead to the ruin of so many beautiful art treasures. What’s happening with the “gates” that were supposed to prevent such events?

  4. We’ve been fortunate to miss the high water each time we’ve gone. Have seen all the walkways folded in the middle of the street ready to go but have just been lucky I guess. Any chance they’ll build the barriers?

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