Venice has recently experienced a new case of extreme low tide, which is a quite rare, but not entirely unknown, phenomenon for this city.

User:Nino Barbieri, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons -https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Venice_-_Low_tide.jpg

The city of Venice, renowned for being a floating city, these days is facing an extreme case of “bassa marea” (i.e. low tide) which is drying up Venetian canals, causing concern and curiosity among locals and tourists alike.

As you may know the city is situated on a lagoon, which is connected to the Adriatic Sea. The lagoon is replenished by rainfall and seawater.

The lagoon is affected by normal cycles of high and low tide. For many years, Venice has been worldwide famous for the “alta marea” (high tide), which flooded Venice leading, in some occasions, to disastrous consequences. Fortunately, this problem has now been partially solved by a system of mobile dams called “Mose”.

high tide

On the contrary, there is not a clear solution for the low tide, which is mainly caused by the high pressure coinciding with the low lunar tide. As we said, this phenomenon it is not new to Venice. On the contrary, it was quite common in the last centuries and only now it has become rarer.

In any case, the effect of this extreme low tide on Venice’s canals has been impressive. Some of the canals are almost empty, while others are still not navigable. As a consequence, it is difficult for boats and gondolas to navigate the canals, affecting the city’s vital tourism industry and causing problems in the delivery of essential public services for the city.

As a tourist, there is not much to be worried about. The positive aspect is that you will be able to see a different Venice and, on the other side, with a little of patience you will be able to see a “normal” Venice during the hours of high tide. In any case, this situation won’t last long, so just enjoy it!