(CNN) -- Venice has suffered its worst flooding in 22 years, leaving some parts of the historic Italian city neck-deep in water, reports said Monday.
A woman wades through high waters in Venice's Piazza San Marco.
Water burst the banks of the coastal city's famed canals, leaving the landmark Piazza San Marco -- St Mark's Square -- under almost a meter of water at one point, news agency ANSA reported.
Strong winds pushed waters to a high of 1.56 meters (5 feet 2 inches) at 10:45 a.m. local time, prompting the city government to issue warnings to the public, the agency said.
The flood level began to drop soon afterwards, prompted by a change in the direction of the wind.
Previous highs include 1.58 meters in 1986 and 1.66 meters in 1979, the news agency said. Watch more about the flooding »
Photographs showed people wading through inundated piazzas and waves lapping over waterside cafe tables.
Venice, built around a network of canals and small islands, has for years been trying to tackle the problem of floods that have regularly blighted the city.
In 2007, the United Nations cultural organization UNESCO warned Venice -- a designated World Heritage Site -- is under threat from rising sea levels caused by climate change. See pictures of Venetians wading through flood waters. »
It said that unless the problem is tackled, Venice could be flooded daily and water levels would permanently rise by 54 centimeters in the city by the year 2100.
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