Venice is famed for its canals. But waterways of a different kind are taking over its streets as the Italian city is battered by the worst floods it has faced in more than a decade.
According to city officials, as much as 75% of the iconic city is now submerged, with many of its famed squares and walkways under water, the BBC reported.
Among the places to close this week was St Mark’s Square, where the water level exceeded five feet (156cms) - the fourth highest level recorded.
In only the second such occurrence this century, the basilica within St Mark’s Cathedral was also covered in water - up to 90 cms.
“The basilica has aged 20 years in just one day, and perhaps I am being overly optimistic about that,” church chief administrator Carlo Tesserin said.
“It is becoming ever more difficult for us and indeed could become impossible for us to repair the damage, especially in an age of climate change.”
According to Reuters, at least 11 people have been killed in savage storms across Italy this week, with widespread damage reported in towns in the north, south and centre of Italy.
Some of the hardest hit regions were on the west coast in Liguria, where breakwater walls in the resort town of Rapallo were destroyed, resulting in the wreckage of dozens of luxury yachts and damage to the port area.
Elsewhere, the resort town of Portofino was cut off by a landslide, while seawater poured through the scenic fishing village of Vernazza.
In Rome and Naples, trees fell down, while two tornadoes were reported in Terracina south of the capital.
While some reports predict the bad weather to continue, an official from the civil protection agency told Reuters conditions would improve on Wednesday “giving the country a truce”.
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