Venice in flood - Action Press/Rex FeaturesThe mayor of Venice has asked tourists not to visit the city after it was hit by some of the worst flooding in 20 years.

The waters of Venice Lagoon rose by just over five feet on Monday, flooding 95% of the city as high tides and bad weather coincided.

Although the waters have now receded leaving a layer of sludge and debris, another surge from the Adriatic Sea has been predicted for today.

Mayor of Venice Massimo Cacciari said: “Anyone thinking of coming should think again. These are exceptionally high waters. Don’t venture out unless it is necessary.”

An official added: “Venice is completely paralysed. We are submerged.”

Problems in the city were compounded by a national transport strike which affected the Venice vaporetto or water bus service. 

Italian meteorologists said the entire country was being battered by bad weather causing flooding from the Alps to Palermo.