The lagoon city is actually sinking slowly every year, something well-documented by many heritage and environmental groups, but there is much to be potentially lost in the floods.
Venice frequently floods, but this week has been particularly bad, as an exceptionally high tide has sent water gushing through the streets, forcing authorities to close the famous Piazza San Marco.
Officials say as much as 75% of the lagoon city has been submerged by water – the fourth highest level ever recorded – as Italy has been battered by severe stormy weather, which has left 10 people dead.
According to studies, Venice is naturally sinking – a phenomenon that makes the city even more susceptible to flooding – and being such a historic and beautiful city, its future, and the future of its landmarks (great and small), are a concern.
With this sobering thought in mind, we’ve collected some of the hidden gems of the city that are potentially in danger, and that should not be missed…
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of the most perfectly formed art galleries in the world. Housed in an 18th century classic Venetian palace, it was the home of heiress and avid collector Peggy Guggenheim – yes, of that famous art-obsessed family.
Due to the museum’s prime position on the canal, it is currently closed because of the high tide.
The collection is mainly Guggenheim’s own and is incredibly impressive – she was, after all, the one who discovered Jackson Pollock and was also married to Max Ernst. The selection of modern art is impressive, with everyone from Picasso and Duchamp to Mondrian and Kandinsky on show.
Santa Maria dei Miracoli
Any visit to Venice will undoubtedly involve seeing a whole lot of churches, from the San Zaccaria to the Santi Giovanni e Paolo. However, if you want to see a smaller and less touristy architectural gem, head to the Santa Maria dei Miracoli.
Tucked away in the side streets of Venice, it’s the kind of place you’ll only find if you know it’s there. When you do stumble upon it, it’s instantly recognisable for the multi-coloured pastel marble facade. It’s well worth a visit because of how delicately beautiful it is – so much so it’s often described as the "jewellery box church."
Libreria Acqua Alta
Out of all the places on this list, the Libreria Acqua Alta is undoubtedly the best prepared for flooding. Stuffed to the brim with all manner of books, these precious pages are safeguarded from the water in ingenious ways – placed in everything from a full-size gondola to bathtubs and bins.
A conventional bookshop this is not, but it’s definitely quirky. It shows just how inventive the Venetians can be when protecting themselves from inevitable floods.
The Rialto Bridge is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Venice, so once you’ve ticked this off your list you should head to the lesser-known Drogheria Mascari nearby for a real taste of Italian life.
This is a speciality food store that sells exotic spices, interesting spreads (we recommend trying the pistachio butter) and unusual Italian liquors. It really feels like a time capsule, as nothing has changed in at least half a century. It’s perfect for perusing the shelves and buying something you probably won’t get in your local Tesco.
Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni
The lagoon city is well known for its range of Renaissance paintings all vying for your attention. If you want to see a classic example of Venetian art without quite so many crowds, the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni should be top of your list.
In here you’ll find a series of panels by Vittore Carpaccio, painted for one of Venice’s immigrant communities; the Dalmatians. It tells the story of their patron saints, and was painted between 1502 and 1507.