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Despite tourist spectacle, flooding 'real problem' for Venice

It's the seasonal spectacle that causes headaches for locals, but is a always a photo-op for tourists visiting the historic city on the Adriatic: Flooding in Venice.

Italy has been hit by heavy rainfall in recent days and levels in the lagoon city rose about 50 inches with some 15 percent of the city flooded.

Tourist Kathleen Newton, among the droves who visit the city each day, is taking it all in stride.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) TOURIST, KATHLEEN NEWTON SAYING:

"It's hard to look fashionable in Venice when you are slopping around in the rain. But it's still a beautiful experience being in Venice."

But local resident Marco Zamunan isn't as pleased with the elements.

(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) VENETIAN CITIZEN, MARCO ZAMUNAN, SAYING:

"The high water level is a big tourist attraction, everyone has fun, but it is a real problem for Venetians. For example our house is on the ground floor and so every time there is a high water level our house gets wet. So for the tourists it is great but none of the Venetians like it as it brings a lot of problems not only this year but all the past years as well."

Many don knee-high boots, and raised wooden walkways help tourists and locals go about their business and keep relatively dry.

But moving around nonetheless is a perennial nuisance for local businesses, the wet weather making commuting and commerce even more difficult in what is already a constant sea of tourists.