Oddly Enough

Venice hotels offer flood package with free boots

Tourists wade through flood waters in Venice December 1, 2008. REUTERS/Michele Crosera

VENICE (Reuters) - Hoteliers in Venice, trying to lure tourists to the canal city despite floods caused by the highest sea levels in over two decades, are offering special “High Water” packages complete with free rubber boots.

The Venice Hoteliers Association website is offering “Venice and the High Water” promotions at 190 euros for one night’s stay plus “free use of rubber boots” and a map with “alternative pedestrian routes during the high water.”

There is also a reassuring message from hoteliers and Mayor Massimo Cacciari saying: “Don’t worry, there is no danger; high water is a phenomenon that quickly disappears.”

Heavy rains and high winds left the city almost completely flooded at the beginning of the month, with the landmark St. Mark’s Square thigh-deep in water and waterbus services suspended.

In the first days of December sea levels in the Adriatic rose by 1.56 metres (61 inches), levels not seen since 1968 and the fourth-highest in a century. With rain and wind continuing in northern Italy, more high water is forecast for Thursday.

Writing by Stephen Brown, editing by Mark Trevelyan