Acqua Alta


Acqua Alta
Italian term for “high water” – used in Venice to describe tidal flooding.

According to the Venice Municipality, aqua alta is “nothing but a rather hefty high tide, such as often to flood, in some periods of the year, the lower points of many fondamente (streets bordering canals), calli (streets), andcampi (squares).” The Municipality rather defensively states

A misunderstanding common among those who do not personally know the matter and are lead to think, also by TV information, that acqua alta means water reaching to one’s navel. It isn’t obviously so: for instance, when “+100 cm acqua alta” is mentioned, that metre only represents the increase in comparison with the average sea level (the average sea level conventionally accepted is the 1897 one measured at the Punta della Salute). At this level, only a very small number of city points get flooded.
That said, on December 1, 2008, Agence France-Presse reported:
Venice suffered its worst flooding in 22 years … as water in the Renaissance city stood more than 1.5 metres deep before beginning to recede. A change in the direction of the wind helped the “acqua alta” water start backing down from a high of 1.56 metres, the tide monitoring centre said. Authorities had warned that the sea lapping at the lagoon city threatened to rise to 1.60 metres, a 30-year high mark, and warned residents and tourists to stay indoors. ‘It’s an exceptional acqua alta, and unless you absolutely have to, don’t go out,’ Venice mayor Massimo Cacciari said.


Dictionary of unconsidered lexicographical trifles. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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