In 2019, the majority of Venice was flooded by the highest tides in 50 years

On this day in weather history, Venice was 80 per cent underwater.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


Venice is a city in northeastern Italy. It's comprised of a group of 118 islands that are connected by more than 400 bridges.

Every year, between fall and early spring, Venice is threatened by flooding from the Adriatic Sea. Around 600 years ago, Venetians decided to protect themselves from land-based attacks by rerouting all major rivers that flow into the area. This prevented sediment from filling the area but created an ever-deepening lagoon.

However, in the 20th century, artesian wells were built to draw in water for local businesses. This caused Venice to subside. The wells were banned in the 1960s, so the sinking has slowed.

Venice is still susceptible to flooding. In old homes, lower levels are flooded and uninhabitable.

In November 2019, 80 per cent of Venice was flooded. Water peaked at 1.87 metres -- the highest flood levels have been since 1966. More than 50 churches flooded, causing tourists to cancel their trips. The city is building a flood barrier that could have potentially prevented the incident.

Luigi Brugnaro, the mayor of Venice, said that the flood barrier project would continue, and the prime minister said the plans will be expedited. Brugnaro also said he believes the enhanced flooding is caused by global warming.

According to a Washington Post report, "The sea level has been rising even more rapidly in Venice than in other parts of the world. At the same time, the city is sinking, the result of tectonic plates shifting below the Italian coast. Those factors together, along with the more frequent extreme weather events associated with climate change, contribute to floods."

Some studies illustrate that Venices continues to sink 1–2 mm per year.

To learn more about the 2019 Venice floods, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: "Acqua alta ("high water") in Venice, 2008." Courtesy of TheWiz83/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0