Acqua Alta, Acqua Viva?

You may have noticed the new banner I posted. It shows a number of bottles on a shelf, one of which contains water from the historically high acqua alta in December 2008. This cafe bottled some and stuck it up on the shelf. It was still there last time I visited.

If you want to see it for yourself, here are some directions. It’s on the main street between Campo San Aponal and Campo San Polo, almost facing Da Sandro. I’m sorry I don’t know the name of the cafe. It’s one of the traditional looking ones, not modernized. If someone knows the name, please post it so I can give them credit for their creative approach to memorializing this acqua alta event.

About seductivevenice

Teacher, writer, traveler, dancer, reader, photographer, gardener.
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3 Responses to Acqua Alta, Acqua Viva?

  1. Nancy Schwalen says:

    I have always wondered how calmly the Venetians take the acqua alta when it arrives? Is it a yearly event? Obviously its severity varies.

  2. Last statistic I heard was that Venice gets about 100 days of acqua a year. Hey you readers living in Venice, can you share your experiences or statistics?

  3. Bert says:

    Acqua alta is essentially a tidal event. It is an extra-extra-high high tide. They usually occur in November-December when a combination of wind from the south-east and low pressure over the Venice area and variations in the orbit of the moon make the high tide extra high. There are two high tides every day, and two spring (extra-high high) tides every month. But some bad acque alte have not been at the time of spring tides. The definition of acqua alta is anything above 90cm above mean sea level. This is only enough to give a puddle in Piazza San Marco (the lowest area in Venice). On this basis there have been about 60 acque alte per year recently, but most of these will be no more than a puddle in the Piazza. I wish people would get rid of the notion that it has anything to do with rainfall, even though that’s not strictly true. If it rains for days up in the mountains, there can be a surge of water in the rivers feeding the lagoon, and, if the conditions are right (or wrong, depending on your point of view), the surge may not be able to get out into the Adriatic, and make a high tide higher. The statistics are here: You will note that figures are only given for tides more than 110 cm above mean sea level. This is enough to “flood” 12% of the area of Venice. But this includes areas where the water will be 1cm deep (which is why I put “flood” in quotes), as well as parts that may be 20cm deep, such as the Piazza.

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