Culture

Why It May Be Harder To Visit Venice Next Year

Officials say that current levels of tourism aren't sustainable.

Venice has always been one of Europe’s most popular destinations, but things look set to change with Italian officials seeking to cap the number of visitors who come to the city. They’re calling it “the eve of  revolution” in Venetian tourism. So what does this mean for those looking to stop in to the picturesque town of canals?

With 22 million visitors per year, it’s no wonder than the small city is struggling to keep up with tourism. The real achilles heel in the matter seems to be large cruise-ships that make their way to the city’s lagoon, offloading up to 70,000 visitors per day. In July of this year, the United Nations warned that Venice will be placed on UNESCO’s list of endangered heritage sites if it doesn’t reduce the numbers of these ships and their passengers.

If you consider that only 55,000 people actually live in the city, the numbers do seem quite intense, with some academics stating that the native population of Venice could be zero by 2030 if nothing is done. In fact, Venice isn’t the only place in Italy seeking to limit tourists; the hugely popular Cinque Terre area is also capping its visitor numbers.

So, what’s the solution?

The Italian deputy minister of culture told national newspaper La Stampa that Venice might introduce an online ticketing system in early 2017. The government is studying a strategic plan for tourism, with the aim of reducing overcrowding in the most popular places and, perhaps most importantly, offering alternative destinations. Trips to the Italian countryside don’t sound like too big of a sacrifice at all.

So which other Italian spots should you head to? You could start with Florence, which was just voted the best European city to travel to by Condé Nast readers. Or why not replicate Azis Ansari’s eating tour of Italy?  Or how about heading to Ostuni, “the white city”, near Puglia? Keen on water-sliding into the gorgeous waters of the Mediterranean in Sicily? Of course you are. The options are almost limitless.

Ultimately, all the Italian government and locals are asking us all to do is explore the lesser-known parts of their beautiful country – and who doesn’t want to venture off the beaten track?

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The lesser known: Procida in southern Italy. Photo: 2benny/Flickr

If you do decide to make the trip before the possible new regulations come into play, check out our tips for chilling out in the busiest European cities, including Venice.