Literally translated, Acqua Alta means "High Water".
Many coastal communities are affected by high tides, but Venice has a more complex problem:
For starters, she's sinking.
Sinking at an extremely slow rate, but sinking nonetheless.
Second, the city is at the end of the Adriatic, and when atmospheric pressures are just right (or wrong depending on how you look at it) the sea pushes north, giving areas in the Veneto an enhanced high-tide level.
Third, these Acque Alte often happen during rainy parts of the year, so the addition of river runoff exacerbates the problem.
Venetians visiting with each other as they navigate the city's network of raised planks that are set up during times of Acqua Alta. Notice the flooded fondamenta.Piazza San Marco is among the lowest spots in Venice, so it usually floods first.
In the end, no matter what happens, Venetians adapt.
It's what they've always done, and they're good at it.
From the beginning, when the original Venetians took refuge from the invading hordes, they've figured out new ways to accomplish goals and move on with a "business as usual" flair.
Watch them as they move about during Acqua Alta and you'll see what I mean.
A big thanks goes out to Sean Antonioli for sending these great images.
My feet feel wet, just looking at them!