Venice canals run dry, leaving gondolas stuck in the mud

Taxis and emergency services are also struggling to navigate the waterways

Powered by automated translation

Travellers with bucket-list visions of cruising along Venetian waterways in a gondola will have to put plans on hold for the moment as the Italian city’s waterways are battling severe low tides following a lack of winter rain.

Several gondolas are stranded in mud banks while others are docked in dry lagoons in the city where flooding is more regularly the concern.

Built on hundreds of small islands separated by canals and linked by more than 400 bridges, Venice relies on its waterways as part of its daily life.

However, with only one main road in the city, water taxis and emergency services are being affected by the dry conditions as they struggle to navigate the parched canals in the inner city. Other waterways, including the Grand Canal, remain open.

The low-level tides arrive as the city wraps up celebrations of its annual Carnevale di Venezia following three years of scaled-back events owing to Covid-19.

Tourists once again descended on the Queen of the Adriatic for its world-famous festival, which ended on Tuesday, where hundreds of brightly coloured floating barges filled with performers, masked actors and dancers traversed the city's canals.

The dry weather follows Italy's worst drought in 70 years.

The country has experienced very little snow and rainfall this winter and the Alps have received less than half the usual snowfall, Reuters reports.

Italian rivers and lakes are suffering from a severe lack of water, the Legambiente environmental group told the news outlet. Italy's longest river the Po, which runs from the Alps in the north-west to the Adriatic Sea, has 61 per cent less water than normal at this time of year, according to the group.

Updated: February 22, 2023, 11:22 AM