2014 Photo of Frozen Venice Canal: Real or Fake?

A snowy winter scene in Venice, Italy.

Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images

It's not that the canals of Venice never freeze over — it's a rare occurrence but it has been known to happen, once in 1929 and most recently in February 2012. The image below, however, is demonstrably fake.

The Photo

A Photoshopped image of Venice's frozen canals.

Via Twitter (image created by nois7)

Description: Viral image

Circulating since: February 2014

Status: Fake

The Hoax of Fame blog noted two days after the image first began circulating on Reddit.com that it is actually a mash-up of a photo of Venice's Grand Canal (original source and date unknown) and a photo of ice on Russia's Lake Baikal posted by Daniel Kordan in 2013. Credit for the montage goes to nois7 (aka Robert Jahns), who posted the original to Instagram on February 3, 2014.

What Venice Weather Is Actually Like in Winter

Snow falling in Venice, Italy.

MARCO SECCHI/Corbis/Getty Images

Winter in Venice can get quite cold but if you dress properly, you will find gondola rides in the canals quite magical. With relatively fewer tourists than other times of the year, the streets of Venice are quiet and locals go about their business in between shots of espresso and chats with friends in the piazzas.

Students huddle outside bars for their evening drinks and people retreat into cafés to sip on steaming cups of hot chocolate. It may sound like a romantic scene out of a movie, but the closest thing you will see to frozen ice in Venice will be the ice in your drink at the bar.

Yes, the weather is going to be chilly and the skies will likely to look gloomy and gray. Wear lots of layers and bring along a wool scarf to help ward off the bone-chilling cold that damp air can bring.

You will want to bring along your own camera (or just use your smartphone) to catch misty views, falling snow, and all the glimmering lights. What you choose to Photoshop over your own images is up to you, but just refrain from adding ice to the canals because that image has already been created.

Keep in mind that February is Carnival time in Venice, so the city will be very busy and more colorful than other times of the winter. Low winter prices typically rise in order to accommodate the plethora of tourists that arrive to enjoy the spectacle. The weekends in February get even more crowded as visitors stream in by train. All the more reason to suspect that the viral image of Venice canals frozen over is all just a hoax.