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Venice Canals Running Dry?


Venice is a city plagued by water troubles. We’ve all heard that Venice is sinking, that its canals stink of sewage in the summer, that people are forced to raised plywood “sidewalks” when the piazzas flood in the winter. Well, it appears now that the normally flooded winter city is suffering from a serious low tide.

Late last year, unusually high tides drowned the city – and this week low tides “have been running as much as 70cm below normal.” This means that several of Venice’s smaller canals have dried up almost entirely, leaving some Venice gondolas stuck – at least until the water returns.

The all-time low-tide record was set in 1934, when “the tide was 121cm below average.”

Venice is also one of those cities you either love or hate… There doesn’t seem to be much room for the in-between. Personally, I adore Venice, and I’ve been there in summer when the smell was supposed to make me keel over (I didn’t smell a thing, and yes, I have a nose). The key to loving Venice, if you ask me, is staying overnight so you can see the city without the cruise ship hordes. Second only to this, my Golden Rule of Venice, is to get lost. No, seriously – wander the city until you’re lost. Find the parts of the city where people really still live (honest, they exist). Then, when you’re tired of wandering, just ask someone, “Dov’è Piazza San Marco?” You’ll be directed back there, and from there you should be able to get back to wherever you want to go. Oh, and feel free to replace “Piazza San Marco” with something else, like “Ponte Rialto,” or “La Stazione.” Go ahead. Get creative. Just get to Venice.