The World Heritage city will restrict visitors from places such as the Piazzale Roma and the Santiago Calatrava-designed Constitution Bridge. The restriction also includes passenger traffic on the Strada Nuova, one of Venice’s most popular streets. The only people who can access these areas will be locals who will be required to show a residential or commuter Venezia Unica pass at guarded check-points.
This measure has been taken due to overcrowding of the cities narrow streets and waterways during the summer months. Venice hosts around 30 million tourists that visit each year and the stain of visitors on the city has long been an issue for the local authorities and the local people who need get to work and live their everyday lives. Visitor numbers are expected to soar this weekend, which is a four-day long holiday in Europe.
The mayor of the city, Luigi Brugnaro, signed a decree which included this statement calling for “urgent measures to guarantee public safety, security, and livability in the historic city of Venice.” He continued on Thursday to state: “We cannot prevent access to the city, and we do not want [to], but we must regulate the flow of tourists.”
There is also a restriction on cars that can enter the city. This step will mean that people coming via car from the Italian mainland might be stopped from crossing the bridge over the lagoon, the Ponte della Libertà.
Although these measures might seem extreme, the Mayor is suggesting that they may be implemented again in the future if they are successful in controlling the crowds.
Venice is, of course, not the only popular tourist destination in Europe putting such restrictions in place. The Greek island of Santorini and Dubrovnik in Croatia have recently capped the number of people who can visit the islands. Authorities and local people from Corfu and Rhodes have also expressed an interest in controlling tourism.