Before coronavirus hit, Venice was one of the most visited cities in the world, with around 20 million annual tourists. Measures to control the influx of tourists have been debated for years due to the enormous pollution caused by cruise ships and the overcrowding of the city’s narrow streets and canals. But the pandemic changed the tide, and Venice’s heavily polluted lagoon started regenerating.
To protect this recent regrowth, the Italian government decided last month to ban large cruise ships from entering the lagoon, but this may prove to be just a first step in the push to regulate mass tourism.
According to Italy’s La Stampa newspaper, city officials are again set on charging entry fees to visit Venice, somewhere between 3-10 euros, as of the summer of 2022. Plans are also underway to set a cap on the number of daily visitors, so tourists may need to book their visit to Venice before they go on vacation.
However, charging visitors is still controversial. As reported by La Stampa, city councilor Marco Gasparinetti said it would turn Venice into a “theme park,” proposing instead to restrict access only to overcrowded areas like Piazza San Marco. If they implement the plan to install electronic turnstiles around the city center, it might indeed turn La Serenissima into an amusement park rather than a living, breathing city.