Venice gondolas beached by low tides

Gondolas lay beached along a series of Venice's famed canals this week, as low tides and a lack of rain left would-be punters high and dry.

Tourists out on the deeper, busier canals sailed passed exposed foundations of ancient palazzos in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, while in shallower ones, forlorn boats sat on silty mud flats.

While the Italian city is better known for its high tides, which regularly flood St Mark's Square, it is also affected by low tides, which can make life difficult not only for holiday makers but for water ambulances.

"It's an absolutely normal phenomenon," Alvise Papa, the head of Venice's tide forecasting centre, told AFP on Tuesday.

"Low tides are not enough to dry up the canals, but this year they are accompanied by high atmospheric pressure, which prevents bad weather", he said.

The situation was expected to return to normal on Wednesday.

© 2023 AFP