Europe

Venice floods: The historic sites affected

A man stands in water at the flooded St Mark"s Square Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The extent of damage is unclear, but local authorities have said the impact was "extremely worrying"

Extensive damage has been reported in areas of Venice after severe flooding hit the Italian city this week.

More than 80% of the city, a Unesco world heritage site, was under water when tides hit their highest, leading Mayor Luigi Brugnaro to declare a state of emergency.

Images show roads and famous attractions submerged in floodwaters, and authorities have reported two deaths as a result.

Just how badly the city has been damaged is not yet clear.

But Salvano Nastasi, Secretary General of Italy's culture ministry, told local media that the situation was "extremely complex and worrying" and a crisis unit had been established to assess the impact.

St Mark's Square

Image copyright AFP
Image caption St Mark's Square was one of the worst-hit areas of the city

Known as "the drawing room of Europe", St Mark's Square is one of Venice's most popular tourist attractions and the city's major public plaza.

It is home to several historic landmarks, including St Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace, the residence of Venice's rulers when it was an independent republic.

But as one of the lowest parts of the city, St Mark's Square was hit by some of the worst flooding and it became submerged in over a metre of water.

The basilica was flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years, according to church records.

Pumps were deployed to drain water from the church and its 12th-century crypt. There are fears of structural damage to the basilica's columns.

La Fenice Theatre

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption La Fenice Threatre has avoided interior flooding, but is surrounded by water

La Fenice (The Phoenix) is one of the world's most famous opera houses, dating back to the late 18th Century.

The venue has hosted some of the biggest names in opera - from Verdi and Rossini - and it has survived three fires.

Although most of its interior has avoided flooding, water has entered the control room, where its electrical and fire-prevention systems are based.

The Gritti Palace

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Parts of the Gritti Palace, a luxurious hotel in the city, were under water

Images show severe interior flooding inside the Gritti Palace, which is situated along the Grand Canal.

Built in 1475, the building was once a private residence and now operates as a luxury hotel.

Famous former guests have included royalty, politicians and celebrities, from Winston Churchill to Ernest Hemingway.

Ca' Pesaro Modern Art Gallery

Fire damage has also been reported at the Ca' Pesaro after an electrical short circuit triggered a blaze. The extent of the damage has not yet been disclosed.

The marble palace, built in the 18th Century, operates as a modern art gallery with a large collection of paintings and sculptures on display.

Its upper floors also house the Oriental Art Museum, featuring more than 30,000 objects from Japan, China and Indonesia.

Vaporetti

Image copyright EPA

The city's boat-based public transport system has been taken out of operation after several boats, known as vaporetti, were damaged.

Images show some of the water buses banked on public walkways after being swept up by high tides and strong winds.

Local media also report gondolas being taken out of service after they were smashed against their moorings.

Pellestrina

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pellestrina (file photo)

Pellestrina, a thin strip of land forming a barrier between the city and the Adriatic Sea, lies along the eastern side of the Venetian Lagoon.

The area has been badly hit by floodwaters, and a local man was electrocuted as he tried to start a pump in his home. A second person was found dead elsewhere on the island.

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