Gondolas navigate by the Rialto Bridge on Venice's historical Grand Canal as a patch of phosphorescent green liquid spreads in it, Sunday, May 28, 2023. Image Credit: AP

Rome: A stretch of Venice’s Grand Canal turned bright green Sunday, prompting police to investigate amid speculation about a stunt by environmentalists.

Gondoliers could be seen punting through the phosphorescent waters, while tourists took photographs of the green area, from the Rialto Bridge up and along part of the Canal.

The colour was first spotted by local residents, the Veneto region’s president Luca Zaia said on Twitter.

A bright patch of green is seen in the Grand Canal along an embankment lined with restaurants, in Venice, Italy, Sunday, May 28, 2023. Image Credit: AP

“The prefect has called an urgent meeting with the police to investigate the origin of the liquid,” he said.

The Italian fire service said it was helping the regional environmental protection agency take samples for testing.

It is not the first time the Grand Canal has been turned green.

In 1968, Argentine artist Nicolas Garcia Uriburu dyed the waters of Venice’s Grand Canal green with a fluorescent dye during the 34th Venice Biennale in a stunt to promote ecological awareness.

Police were looking into whether Sunday’s action could be a protest by climate change activists, local daily La Nuova Venezia said.