Heavy rains and seas whipped up by strong winds have flooded almost three quarters of Venice and brought the city’s high tide mark to its sixth-highest level since records began 150 years ago.
The same weather system that put 70 per cent of central Venice under water on Sunday was wreaking havoc elsewhere in north and central Italy, with some 200 people evacuated from their homes in Tuscany.
The region worst affected by the weather was the province of Massa and Carrara, producer of the famous Carrara marble. Local authorities have urged people to avoid leaving their homes and to stay on upper floors.
Moveable barriers that rise from the sea bed to protect Venice from high tides have been in the works for years but will not be operational before 2014.