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A remark usually attributed to Napoleon calls the Piazza San Marco "the drawing room of Europe". (The attribution to Napoleon is unproven). It is one of the few great urban spaces in Europe where human voices prevail over the sounds of motorized traffic.
The Piazza San Marco is not far above sea level and during the Acqua Alta, the "high water" from storm surges from the Adriatic or heavy rain, it is quick to flood. Water pouring into the drains in the Piazza runs directly into the Grand Canal. This normally works well but, when the sea is high, it has the reverse effect, with water from the lagoon surging up into the Square.
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