A state of emergency was declared in Venice over dangerously high tides that invaded cafes, stores and other businesses on Tuesday. The water level hit 6.14 feet Tuesday evening, according to the city's tide forecast office — falling just short of a record set in November 1966 at 6 feet 4 inches.
Sirens sounded to warn people in Venice of the rising water, or "acqua alta," and authorities closed nursery schools as a precaution.
A top tourist attraction, the Ducal Palace, just off St. Mark's Square, tweeted that it was open "despite the exceptional tide," and advised visitors to use the raised walkways leading to its entrance.
Many hotels keep disposable knee-high plastic boots handy for tourists. Venetians' wardrobes often include over-the-knee rubber boots.
Bad weather has been plagued Italy this week, and there was no real let-up forecast for several days.
In Policoro, a southern town in an area known for its ancient Greek ruins, a whirlwind ripped the roofs off two homes, but the occupants inside escaped injury, Italian news reports said.
In that same region of Basilicata, swaths of the tourist town of Matera, famed for its ancient cave dwellings, were flooded after heavy rains.