Flooding struck the northern outskirts of Rome on Wednesday after heavy rains in central Italy swelled the Tiber River, as Tuscany, Umbria and Venice counted the costs of extensive flood damage.
The river that snakes through the city tore its banks in some areas, tearing boats from their moorings and sweeping debris in the current. The Aniene, a tributary of the Tiber in northern Rome, also broke its banks.
The flooding snarled traffic in a few areas of the Italian capital as streets were closed off. A fire brigade helicopter could be seen circling overhead to survey the damage as rescue workers carried out checks.
Massive clean-up operations were under way meanwhile in other parts of Italy, particularly in coastal areas of Tuscany and low-lying parts of Umbria where flooding in recent days has hit popular resorts and farming centres.
"Our top priority is making sure people are safe by removing water and mud. I hope we complete this in the next few days," said Tuscany's governor Enrico Rossi, asking for special powers and state funding for reconstruction efforts.
In Venice, the consortium overseeing construction of a barrier to protect the historic city from rising sea levels said the defences were more necessary than ever after waters reached their highest level in four years on Sunday.
"There will be an apocalypse if we do not act fast," said a representative of the Consorzio Venezia Nuova, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The consortium said the MOSE water barriers around the Venice lagoon are three-quarters complete but that an extra 1.5 billion in government funding will be needed to complete the project by 2016.
The level of the water in Venice reached 149 centimetres on Sunday -- its highest level since 2008 -- sparking a red alert in the city, where hardy bathers were seen taking a dip in the flooded historic St Mark's Square.