The beloved Italian city Venice has suffered from devastating floods, after the region saw the highest water levels in more than 50 years.

A popular cruise destination and one of the most beautiful cities in the world, much of Venice has been left underwater, with the floods speculated to leave a permanent mark on the floating metropolis.

Shops, businesses, restaurants and tourist spots have all been affected, with three waterbuses reported as sunk.

Discussing the floods, an ABTA spokesperson said: “Tourist areas have been affected by the recent severe flooding in Venice.

“Travel companies with interests in the region should contact their ground agents and staff to establish if programmes have been affected and check on the welfare of their customers and staff, offering assistance as appropriate.

“Customers already in Venice should be kept updated on advice issued by local authorities, and any that are due to travel should be contacted to discuss if any changes are necessary to their travel itineraries as a result of the flooding.

“ABTA will continue to monitor the situation and keep its members updated.”

Venice Mayer Luigi Brugarno tweeted that the floods are a “wound that leaves indelible marks” and that the Italian government “must listen to Venice”, citing climate change as a factor in the flooding.

The tides were the highest in 50 years, peaking art 1.88m (6ft), according to the tide monitoring centre. Records show that the last time the tide was higher was in 1966., reaching 1.94m.

Areas which have been badly affected include St Mark’s Square, a popular destination with tourist visiting Venice.

The Basilica itself has also been flooded, with its crypt swimming in water and potentially weakening the structure of the basilica’s columns.

“ABTA will continue to monitor the situation and keep its Members updated.”

Along with serious damage to the city, two people have tragically died on the island of Pellestrina, a thin strip of land separating the Venetian lagoon from the Adriatic Sea.

In other news, earlier this year it was announced that large cruise ships would be rerouted from the Grand Canal in order to protect the ancient city from overtourism.