Venice during acqua alta
January 22, 2013 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Hubs and I are contemplating a trip to Venice in October--acqua alta season. What kind of gear would we want to manage the high waters? Like: Would we want to bring full-on rubber boots, or will we be able to get by with regular waterproof shoes?

(And hey, any other tips for traveling to Venice in October--yes, the Biennale is on the list--would not be snubbed. Grazie.)
posted by elizeh to Travel & Transportation around Venice, Italy (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We went in October a few years back, with just regular shoes. You can avoid the high waters depending on the time of day you go out. Or you could take some spare shoes that you don't care about.

More importantly though, think about your luggage. We just happened to travel with backpacks. Hadn't thought much about it, but we were so happy we did once we saw other tourists rolling their luggage through the high waters (Ew! What were they thinking?).
posted by vignettist at 2:04 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think it depends, year to year-- I was in Venice one February and boots or booties would have been nicer. Bring extra socks and see if they have a hair dryer in your hotel, if nothing else! I second the recommendation to think of your baggage in terms of water. If you bring an umbrella, make it a smaller one as the canal walkways are quite slim, and consider a shoulder bag that's zippered for safety/rain purposes. The Blue Guide might be helpful if you want a dose of older history along with the Biennale.
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:16 PM on January 22, 2013

When the water is high you need knee high waders. They will sell them to you there though if you don't want to make room in your suitcase, on the street, the way you can get umbrellas in other cities.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:22 PM on January 22, 2013

I would definitely bring a pair of wellies if I went back. The water is at least ankle deep; regular boots won't cut it.

The good thing is, you have warning when the waters will rise, and they don't just stay high the whole time, so you can often just wait it out.
posted by bink at 5:29 PM on January 22, 2013

I went recently and I was totally willing to drop the dimes to buy waders there, if I'd needed them. Packing that seemed like a nightmare.

I ALMOST packed a non-rolling-bag, just in case of high water, because, right??? (But in the end I decided a backpack would kill me for the whole trip.)

Honestly I don't think it's that crazy, apart from, you know, how crazy it is; the tide comes out and comes in, they have little rampy walkways everywhere to assemble at a moment's notice, that kind of thing. I'm sad that the tide never got that high while I was there!

My only Venice tips are:

* Don't take anything but the straight-up regular public transport. (The Alilaguna is fairly terrible; if you have to take the orange line or whatever from the airport, get off as soon as possible and get on the 1 or 2 or 4.2.) I'd rather take a private taxi from the airport honestly, it's such a shitshow.

* Get the boat pass for the duration of your trip. It's always worth it for hopping on and hopping off. Particularly if you want to get down to the Biennale and stuff.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:41 PM on January 22, 2013

Response by poster: How long does the high water last? An hour? Several hours? Does it happen every day?
posted by elizeh at 7:47 PM on January 22, 2013

Here's the Comune's tide reports; oh yes, there is an app for that! (And a city-wide alert system.)

Each approximately 24-hour period, most places in the world, has a higher high tide and a high tide, and two corresponding lows. So an acqua alta only lasts a few hours, generally at or following the highest tide, or both high tides.

I mean, these people really do not blink about this. (But then neither do they keep ruinable things at sea level.)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:02 PM on January 22, 2013

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