Italy’s government has declared a state of emergency in flood-ravaged Venice.

It is looking to swiftly secure funds to repair damage in the historic city from the highest tide in 50 years.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the flooding as “a blow to the heart of our country”.

A cabinet meeting declared the state of emergency and approved the first measures aimed at helping the city’s recovery.

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Venice floodingA stranded ferry boat lies on its side in Venice (Luigi Costantini/AP)

Mr Conte spent Wednesday night in Venice, where world-famous monuments, homes and businesses were hit hard by the exceptional flooding.

The water reached 1.87 meters above sea level on Tuesday, the second-highest level ever recorded in the city.

Venice’s mayor said the damage is estimated at “hundreds of millions of euros”.