On September 11, 1970, one of the most deadly tornados ever to strike Italy touched down at 8:45 PM in hills of Euganei, near Padova. In the next 57 minutes, the tornado zig-zagged its way toward the Venetian lagoon, through the Bacino of San Marco in the heart of Venice, onto the island of Sant’ Elena, the Lido, and the terra firma resort of Cavallino.
When it was over, 37 people were dead. The biggest loss was felt in Venice itself, where 21 people, mostly foreign tourists, were drown aboard the motoscafo Altino, which was seized into the air and then capsized in the waters directly off of the Riva degli Schiavoni. There was widespread destruction on the island of Sant’ Elena, where an even larger disaster was narrowly averted by when the twister nearly struck a crowded vaporetto moored at a pontile.