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The Acqua Alta

Venice has experienced some of the worst flooding in its history this week, with flood levels of over 6 feet submerging the city’s most revered and trafficked historical sites.

High tides have washed over 85% of the one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, causing hundreds of millions of euros’ worth of damage, with shops, buildings and hundreds of pieces of infrastructure being flooded. The mayor has called the acqua alta — or high water — a “blow to the heart of the city,” and a state of emergency has been declared ahead of more expected flooding, according to Washington Post reports.

It has been more than 50 years since Venice has seen flooding this severe. The flood of 1966 saw a deluge raise the canals to a height of 6 feet 4 inches, leaving thousands without homes and causing extensive damage to some of the city’s most precious art.

Italian leaders blamed the effects of climate change on the rising ocean waters and swollen rivers that lead into the city, with the mayor saying on Twitter the city is “on its knees.”

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