This Popular Italian City Will Soon Charge Tourists an Entrance Fee

Oh, and you’ll have to book "tickets," too

Sestiere
Zu Sanchez Photography / Getty Images

Planning a dream trip to Venice, Italy, next year? Better make your budget a little bigger.

Venice will start charging single-day visitors a fee and capping how many people can enter the city as part of a six-month trial. Tourists can begin booking their reservations this summer, for 2023 travel, with tickets costing anywhere between 3 and 10 euros, depending on the season.

"The experimental phase begins in June, when day tourists will be invited to book through a website that is being completed by the council," Venice’s tourism councilor, Simone Venturini, told La Repubblica, a local news source. "Those who book will receive incentives, such as discounts on entering museums. To determine the access fee, we will set a maximum threshold of 40,000 or 50,000 visitors a day."

Access to the famous tourist city will be controlled via new installations of metal turnstiles and 468 closed-circuit TV cameras. However, anyone who has booked directly into a Venice hotel, is visiting relatives who live in the city, and obviously, locals are exempt from the fee.

“Tourism starts again in #Venezia," Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted on April 18. "A breath of fresh air for operators. Today many have understood that making the city bookable is the right way to take, for a more balanced management of tourism. We will be the first in the world in this difficult experimentation.”

For those of you thinking what we’re thinking: No, it’s not unlike what you’d encounter at a theme park, but desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s a small world, after all—and Venice is a treasure worth paying to save.

Venice has become somewhat of a poster child for over-tourism in recent years. The city itself dates back over 1,200 years, and its beautiful architecture, romantic canals, and top-notch food have been drawing tourists for hundreds of years at a constant and increasingly exponential rate.

It’s been estimated that around 20 million tourists make their way to Venice each year or approximately 120,000 people per day. Considering this historic city only has about 55,000 actual residents, that’s a lot of extra traffic, extra trash, extra noise—and extra costs—for the Venetian locals and the city’s 800-year-old buildings, canals, bridges, and walkways to bear.

The city got a reprieve from tourists in 2020, though over 1.3 million tourists still made their way into the seaport town. As Italy reopened, Venice eyed a new path forward. Last year, Venice finally made good on its threats to ban large cruise ships, which was ultimately made to prevent further damage to the city.

According to UNESCO, Venice has been exceedingly fragile, thanks to climate change and over-tourism. There have been multiple concerns over tourism’s effect on the city’s historic infrastructure and the rising water levels that threaten to eventually “sink” the Floating City. 

“We are working on perfecting a system of obligatory reservations for the city to discourage day-tripping and encourage high-quality experiential tourism,” Venturini told AFAR. “Venice is paving the way on a global level for the development of an unprecedented system for offsetting the negative consequences of over-tourism.”


Article Sources
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  1. La Repubblica. "A Venezia Si Entra Solo Con la Prenotazione. Il Sindaco: 'Sconti Nei Musei Per Chi Si Registra.'" April 19, 2022.

  2. Reuters. "Venice Prepares to Charge Tourists, Require Booking." September 6, 2021.

  3. The New York Times. "Venice Tourism May Never Be the Same. It Could Be Better." October 4, 2021.

  4. AFAR. "Venice to Start Charging Tourists to Enter the City." January 14, 2022.

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