‘Theme park’ accusations as Venice makes tourists pay for entry tickets

6 September 2023, 10:35

Venice is going to start charging tourists to enter the city centre
Venice is going to start charging tourists to enter the city centre. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Venice is going to start charging tourists a five euro entry fee from next year.

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The city’s council has announced the plans, which will be initially trialled for 30 days during next spring and summer as part of efforts to control visitor numbers.

Everyone over the age of 14 will be required to pay the fee.

Venice tourism councillor Simone Venturini said the plan is to find “a new balance between the rights of those who live, study or work in Venice and those who visit the city.”

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He insisted the plans were not a money-making scheme and that the fee would only cover the cost of running the scheme.

But Matteo Secchi, who leads the activist group Venessia, told the Times the ticketing scheme would guarantee the city turns into “Disneyland”.

“Making visitors pay to get in turns Venice into a museum or theme park rather than a city where people live, go to the supermarket and drop their kids off at school,” he said.

Officials first came up with the idea in 2019 but it was postponed due to Covid-19.

The city centre of Venice has about 50,000 residents with an average of over 15,000 visitors per day.

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