The Guardian

The death of Venice? City’s battles with tourism and flooding reach crisis level

A tax on daytrippers has hit the headlines, but La Serenissima’s mounting problems also include rising waters, angry locals and a potential black mark from UnescoWhy Italy regrets its Faustian pact with tourist cash
Tourists brave the flood water in St Mark’s Square, Venice, in October last year. Photograph: Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Getty Images

Venice’s Santa Lucia railway station is packed as visitors scuttle across the concourse towards the water-bus stops. Taking a selfie against the backdrop of the Grand Canal, Ciro Esposito and his girlfriend have just arrived and are unimpressed with what may greet them in future if the Venetian authorities get their way: a minimum city entry fee of €2.50 throughout the year, rising to between €5 and €10 during peak periods.

It is the price of a cappuccino, but for them “it’s going too far”. “They are using people like a bank machine,” says Esposito. “We are in Europe and can travel freely across borders, yet we have to pay to enter one of our own cities.”

In earlier times it was the wheeled suitcases that tourists rattled over the cobbles that drew the ire of Venetians – so much so that the authorities pledged to fine anyone caught using one up to €500. That never happened, but now another – more plausible

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Guardian

The Guardian8 min read
I Fled New York With My Wife, Kids And Dog – Just As My Ancestors Fled The 1918 Pandemic
The 1918 influenza pandemic killed my great-grandmother and her daughter. I thought this was merely tragic until I found myself leaving on the heels of another plague, a week before lockdown
The Guardian2 min read
Filth In A Time Of Handwashing: Why Lockdown Erotica Is The Hottest Trend In Publishing
Who knew extreme cleanliness could be a turn on? Ebook authors are kindling lust by rushing out tales for bored, horny, quarantined readers Coron
The Guardian18 min read
'It’s A Place Where They Try To Destroy You': Why Concentration Camps Are Still With Us
Mass internment camps did not begin or end with the Nazis – today they are everywhere from China to Europe to the US. How can we stop their spread? By Daniel Trilling