Flooding reached historic levels in Venice today leading to rain-soaked tourists being asked to leave the historic St Mark's Square، as large swathes of Italy experienced heavy winds and flooding، leaving at least five people dead, Daily Mail reported.
Tourists were barred from the sodden area by the authorities after the 'acqua alta' (high water) peaked at more than 5ft (61 inches) by the afternoon- something that has only happened five times in recorded history.
Veneto regional governor Luca Zaia says flooding this week could reach the levels of the 1966 flood that struck Venice and devastated Florence's historic centre.
He added: 'All of Veneto is in code red alarm for this wave of bad weather.'
Nearly all of northern Italy was on alert due to the storms، with wind gusts up to 100 kilometres per hour and rainfall in some places equivalent to the amount that falls over several months.
With high winds toppled trees that killed passers-by in four incidents in Naples، Lazio and Liguria.
In Venice elevated wooden platforms usually placed on main passageways in the Renaissance city were not high enough to ensure safe passage in the low-lying square.
Families carried children on their shoulders through the surrounding streets، as schools as hospitals were closed throughout the city and people were advised not to leave their homes.
While some tourists donned thigh-high wellies، others had opted to take off their shoes and wade through the water، carrying their luggage on their head.
Authorities estimated 70 per cent of the lagoon city had been flooded by rising waters today.
The Interior Ministry urged officials in storm-struck regions، about half of the country، to consider closing schools and offices for a second day Tuesday.