Worst flooding in Venice for decades raises painful questions for Venetians about fairy-tale city’s future    

For more than 1,000 years it was an independent trading republic known as La Serenissima, but there was nothing very serene about Venice this week.

On Wednesday the city was inundated by the worst high tide since 1966, a 1.87 metre (6ft) flood that damaged the iconic Byzantine basilica, swamped St Mark’s Piazza, dumped a tide of debris in narrow alleyways and poured murky brown water into shops, hotels and homes.

On Friday, the water came back with a vengeance. As eerie flood warning sirens wailed over the spires and domes of the city, another high tide struck, raising the level of the lagoon to 1.6 metres (5.3ft) and again leaving much of it underwater.

Venetians and visitors sloshed through…

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