Venice moves to manage massive tourist crowds


Venice has long been awash with a threat possibly bigger than the surging sea – crowds of tourists.

Considered by many to be the most beautiful city in the world, the historic site now hosts a staggering 30 million tourists a year on its cobblestone alleyways and renowned squares. Locals have long felt under siege as crowds of visitors clog the winding streets and transport, many of them day-trippers dragging along wheeled luggage. Housing prices have soared as residences turn into hotels and finding a grocery store for everyday needs has become an increasing challenge.
English news: Venice tourst masses
Venice hosts 30 million tourists a year on its cobblestone alleyways and renowned squares, a number many experts believe is beyond the sustainable capacity of the historic city to handle.

Mayor Luigi Brugnaro and Councilor for Tourism Paola Mar have joined the chorus of voices demanding relief. Last week a measure they introduced to help manage tourists was passed by the Venice City Council.

The regulation calls for counters to register the number of people at popular sites, data that will be shared in real time on social media and the city’s website in the hope of deterring visitors from overwhelmed sites such as Piazza San Marco and the Doge’s Palace.

Tickets to enter the “area marciana” around San Marco “is an eventuality that exists, though not immediately”, Mar told the local Il Gazzettino newspaper.

The moves follow separate lines for locals and tourists already implemented at popular stops for the water-borne vaporetto transport buses.

Last year Mayor Brugnaro received a notice from UNESCO that unless action is taken, Venice could be placed on its list of at-risk sites.

“A long-awaited decision by the city council gives concrete answers to the issue of management of tourist flows,” said Brugnaro. “As also requested by the World Heritage Committee and UNESCO, we were able to identify a series of actions to regulate the flow of tourists and make them compatible with the everyday lives of residents.”

Free WiFi will also be opened up to all, allowing the council to track and profile visitors in each location.