When Visiting Venice for the first time there are two important things you should bear in mind: the phenomenon of the Acqua Alta (High Water) and the many advantages of the Venice Museum Pass.


We’ve all been enchanted by photos of St Mark’s Square emerging from the water. Here is an explanation of what causes this, and how to deal with a phenomenon that reaches its peak annually in November, to the joy of Instagrammers but not so much for the locals.

High Water days usually occur in autumn, peaking in November. During these period of time Venice is partially submerged for a couple of hours, the time needed for the water to flow back into the sea. Most of the time Acqua Alta is only a mild nuisance, involving a few, or in some cases, about ten centimeters of salty water – nothing that can’t be overcome with a sturdy pair of rain boots. So, relax and enjoy the situation.

From an aesthetic and practical point of view, the effect is remarkable. Tourists usually love this phenomenon because it creates a fantastical, slightly surreal, unique and extraordinarily photogenic landscape. The chairs and tables of bars appear to float as if suspended; the reflections of majestic facades are doubled, in short, it’s an instagrammer’s paradise! Arm yourself with a smartphone or camera. When the tide retreats, small pools of water remain in St. Mark’s Square, and it’s here that that glorious Venice is reflected in all its beauty.

The city’s administration has implemented various measures to deal with this phenomenon. When there’s a sea level forecast of +110 centimeters, the population is alerted by warning signals. At the same time, the city provides elevated wooden walkways in areas prone to flooding. Vaporetti continue to work, although some lines may be subject to change. In any case, access to most of the town is guaranteed. In the event of an exceptionally high tide, generally starting from about 120 centimeters, you’ll need to wear a pair of rubber boots to get around the city. Though picturesque, walking around barefoot is not advisable. Remember that, even under these conditions, it’s necessary to respect the city. Both tide forecasts and a list of prohibitions and sanctions can be found on the city’s official website www.comune.venezia.it (in Italian only).

2. THE VENICE MUSEUM PASS  (last updated July 2022)

Buy one ticket to get access to eleven museums. The Museum Pass is a combined ticket offering access to all permanent collections of Venice’s civic and affiliated museums. The Pass is valid for 6 months and allows one entry per museum site.

Full price ticket €36

Reduced ticket €19 (children from 6 to 14 y/o; students from 15 to 25 y/o; visitors over 65 years of age – it is required to show an identity document at the entrance in all cases)

Free ticket for under 6 y/o

Tickets cannot be modified, cancelled or refunded under any circumstances.

See also: Tourist Essentials, How not to get lost in Venice.