Floods have also hit Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia.
People are being advised to limit their travels in northern Italy, following devastating floods which have killed at least 13 people and forced thousands to flee their homes.
Heavy rainfall in recent days has caused 21 rivers to burst their banks in the province of Emilia-Romagna, submerging entire towns in places.
“Apocalyptic” floods and landslides have also wreaked havoc in Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia, with experts warning that climate-related disasters are on the rise in southern Europe.
In the region’s capital city of Bologna, the tourist board has urged citizens to limit their travel to essential journeys only.
The UK government has issued a travel warning, saying “It is advised to stay away from riverbanks and green areas affected by flooding. Traffic, including between Bologna and Rimini, is likely to be affected.” They urged people to check before they travel and follow instructions issued by local authorities.
Some travellers – including Formula One fans – have cancelled plans to visit the region. The Emilia-Romagna F1 Grand Prix scheduled for this weekend has been called off as emergency crews are already overstretched by the crisis.
If you have travel plans to northern Italy, here’s what you need to know.
Flights to Bologna and train cancellations in Emilia-Romagna
Flights to and from Bologna Airport are still departing as scheduled, according to the latest flight information.
The latest guidance from Guglielmo Marconi Bologna International Airport encourages outgoing passengers to leave home early, and travel by public transport such as the Marconi Express monorail (from Bologna central railway station) or bus.
Italia Rail warns that High Speed, InterCity and regional trains are experiencing delays, route restrictions, and cancellations in the Emilia-Romagna region. A statement yesterday (17 May) advises people not to travel during the next few days if possible.
Holidaymakers have criticised airlines for continuing to run flights to the region, without the option of a refund.
“British Airways are refusing to refund £1518 (€1,747) paid for flights to Bologna today. At least 8 people dead and 13,000 evacuated from the area due to flooding but we’re still expected to travel there for a holiday. Thoughts with everyone suffering in the region,” one British man tweeted this morning.
“[I] bought tickets to Bologna months ago for tomorrow morning. It’s very expensive for my country since we don’t use [the] euro. And now there are floods everywhere [and I don’t know if it’s safe to travel,” another Twitter user wrote.
Euronews Travel has contacted British Airways for comment.
Tourist sites closed in Bologna and Ravenna
Those choosing to still travel to the region will find their sightseeing options limited by the floods.
Among the main tourist attractions closed today (18 May) in Bologna are: the Torre dell’Orologio clock tower, the Anatomical Theatre and the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita, as well as all civic and university museums.
Cityred bus and San Luca express tours are still operating, however, and the National Gallery and Asinelli Tower remain open to visitors, according to the Bologna tourist board.
The popular tourist town of Ravenna, famed for its Byzantine-era mosaics, has also been badly hit by the floods. Around 14,000 people were ordered to leave their homes on Wednesday evening, due to fears that more rivers could burst their banks.
“Ravenna is unrecognisable after the damage it has suffered,” Mayor Michele de Pascale told RAI public radio.
Tuscany, Rome, Naples: Are other parts of Italy affected by the floods?
Emilia-Romagna has borne the brunt of the storm, as red alerts issued by the Italian government show.
But the neighbouring regions of Marche and Tuscany – which were under an amber alert – have also been hit by heavy rainfall.
Further south, the government issued yellow weather warnings for areas including the cities of Rome and Naples.
There has also been flooding outside of Italy due to the extreme weather.
In the Balkans, the swollen Una River flooded parts of northern Croatia and north-western Bosnia, where authorities announced a state of emergency.
The mayor of the Bosnian town of Bosanska Krupa said hundreds of homes had been flooded.
“We have an apocalypse,” Amin Halitovic told the regional N1 network.
“We can no longer count the flooded buildings. It’s never been like this.”
How can you help those affected by the floods?
As one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, many hold Italy close to their hearts.
If you would like to show your support for the affected regions, Emilia Romagna’s Civil Protection Agency has set fundraising campaign for “people and communities hit by the flooding”.
The details (IBAN and BIC codes) of the bank account associated with the campaign are available here.
All donors are advised to include “Alluvione Emilia-Romagna” (literally, “Emilia Romagna flooding”) as the reason for their donation. All funds and their use will be made public by regional authorities.
The Italian Red Cross, one of the first organisations to offer assistance on the ground, also has a donation campaign you can support here.