Death toll rises to 11 as storms hammer Italy

ROME - Violent storms battered Italy for a third consecutive day on Tuesday, killing at least 11 people, and flooding much of Venice.
The lagoon city's St. Mark's Square remained under water for a second day while the adjacent St. Mark's Basilica was also inundated, with its baptistery totally flooded and its historic, mosaic floors covered by 90 cm of water.
"The basilica has aged 20 years in just one day, and perhaps I am being overly optimistic about that," said Carlo Tesserin, the church's chief administrator.
Italian media said it was the second time this century that the basilica had been flooded, and just the fifth time it had seen such high water within the body of the cathedral in its 1,000-year history.
"It is becoming ever more difficult for us and indeed could become impossible for us to repair the damage, especially in an age of climate change," Tesserin said.
Widespread damage was also reported in towns and cities in the north, south and center of Italy. Many of the 11 deaths were caused by falling trees as winds as strong as 150 km/h whipped the country.
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