Venice Is Trying New Ways to Restrict Tourists
Venice has a new idea for controlling the amount of tourists that run rampant through the city of canals.
In advance of the peak summer tourist season, Venice’s Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has signed an ordinance to separate the thousands of tourists from local residents throughout the city. Brugnaro called the new policies “urgent measures to guarantee public safety, security and livability in the historic city of Venice.”
These temporary regulations — introduced for the upcoming holiday weekend in Italy and valid from April 28 until May 1 — aim primarily to manage pedestrian, water and vehicle traffic.
According to the proclamation, certain areas of the city will be accessible only to locals and “regular visitors,” or those possessing a Venezia Unica card, an all-in-one city pass that grants locals access to things like public transit, cultural events and tourist sites.
For example, instead of strolling along the Strada Nuova boulevard, tourists will be forced to take alternative routes to Rialto area or Piazza San Marco.
"They will all reach the same destination," a representative from the Italian National Tourist Board told The Points Guy.
Tourists arriving by boat will not be allowed to disembark at Riva degli Schiavoni, while those arriving by car won't have access to the Ponte della Libertà (and may be turned away altogether if they have not reserved a parking space in advance)
While the measures are experimental in nature, they could be a framework for future restrictions on tourists. After all, this is not the mayor’s first attempt to assuage the city’s over-tourism problem.
In April 2017, Mayor Brugnaro introduced directives to promote less-popular attractions and increase police presence. Brugnaro also announced plans to install “people-counters” at heavily trafficked areas, restrict tourist accommodations and limit the overall number of visitors permitted into the UNESCO World Heritage Center.
As a UNESCO site, Venice is obligated to defend and protect the city and its residents from the pressures of tourism, which may have a "serious negative impact on the identity and integrity of [the city]."
But despite the mayor's efforts, tourists continue to smother the city’s dwindling population. Estimates suggest that travelers consistently outnumber Venice residents 140 to 1.