But to actually experience it was another story.
The main difficulties result from the water rising in the canals so that boats can't get through them (public transport schedules are shot!). There are plenty of pedestrian routes equipped with special raised walkways (called passarelle) to avoid the flooding so you can reach most parts of Venice.
Venetians are so used to this flooding that maps are posted at the boat stops showing 11 alternative pedestrian routes around the city equipped with special footbridges to avoid the high water. You can also pick up a brochure with a map of the walkways at the tourist office.