Whirlwind uproots trees, damages homes near Venice

ROME (Reuters) - A whirlwind ploughed through islands and villages in the lagoon surrounding Venice on Tuesday, tearing roofs off homes and uprooting trees but leaving the city's historic centre unscathed, Italy's civil protection agency said.

ROME (Reuters) - A whirlwind ploughed through islands and villages in the lagoon surrounding Venice on Tuesday, tearing roofs off homes and uprooting trees but leaving the city's historic centre unscathed, Italy's civil protection agency said.

Pictures and amateur videos of the late-morning storm were quickly posted on Italian Web sites. They showed a thick, dark column rising behind the city's belltowers and cupolas, which were not damaged.

The island of Sant'Erasmo, located near the mouth of the channel that leads from the lagoon to the Adriatic sea, was the hardest hit, firefighters reported.

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