For decades, Venice has struggled with overcrowding – largely due to day-trippers streaming through the centre on their way to the city’s many major attractions. If you’ve ever hit the cobbled alleyways around the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco, you’ll know exactly what we mean.
Right now, of course, La Serenissima’s streets are relatively empty. But as tourists make a tentative return across Italy, the city is looking ahead to a time when visitor numbers return to their previous, increasingly overwhelming levels.
Now the local authorities are going ahead with a plan to charge an entry fee to anyone not staying overnight (€10 in high season, €3 in off season) as a way to control the numbers coming in and out every day. The scheme was due to start this summer, but has been pushed back a year due to the pandemic.
Last week, Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro told a press conference that the city may also install electronic turnstiles around the city centre to help implement the system.
Residents, workers and students who travel to the city every day would be able to enter thanks to a ‘virtual key’ on their phones. Tourists, meanwhile, would have to book remaining spots in advance, then scan some sort of ticket to get in at one of these entry points.
Of the current lack of international visitors, Brugnaro said he was confident ‘tourism will return to Venice’, adding that ‘what we have to do is keep on maintaining and showing a safe city, and think of tomorrow’.
Here’s what you need to know about travel to Italy right now.