Do you need a ticket to enter Venice? Until some time ago this idea seemed absurd. But lately rumors started to spread about an upcoming fee for tourists entering the beautiful Italian city. Until September 2023, when the (apparently very heated) city council approved the measure. This aims to be a measure against overtourism. It should be a deterrent to the indiscriminate influx of tourists who decide to visit Venice on days such as August 15th or Mardi Gras, despite knowing they will find a city already packed with people.
Venice is going to be the first city in the world to have a toll. The measure will start at first on an experimental basis in spring 2024 for a total of 30 days (spread over different long weekends or peak days). It establishes the payment of minimum €5 for daily travelers (over 14 years old). It basically affects those who enter the city just for the day without staying overnight.
After the experimental phase, the ticket will allegedly be put into effect on specific dates. Probably during periods of greatest attendance: Carnival, long weekends, festivities, super high season.
Ticket to enter Venice: How will it work?
It seems that the municipality will install some gates with entrance turnstiles, in order to limit the number of daily tourists who will be able to access. To access Venice it will therefore be necessary to book on a specific website or app, as well as pay an entrance fee. After registering, visitors will receive a QR code and they must show it during checks. Those without a QR code risk a sanction of €50.
Many have been the Venetians who protested against this initiative. They see it only as a way to raise cash or, worse, as a system of citizen control through the monitoring of the flows. Somebody says it will transform Venice into a sort of Disneyland.
Are there exceptions?
Yes. Here’s the list of exceptions:
- Work commuters
- Those who stay in Venice for the night
- Residents of the Veneto Region
- Participants in sport competition
- People in need of care at the local hospital
- Children below 14
- Law enforcement on duty
- Relatives (up to the third degree) of Venice residents.
But, attention: the exemption is not automatic. Those entitled must log into a specific portal to book the visit. But can you imagine having to book on a website just to visit your grandma in a city 20 minutes away from your own?
What about the Venice ticket fee?
After the 5€ experimentation period, the fee will vary from 3 up to 10 euros per person depending on the arrival day. Days will be labeled with green, red or black stamps according to the expected turnout. Weekend days or days of special events are going to cost more. It will be possible to pay in advance via credit card, Paypal or bank transfer. But also on the spot. It seems that there will be discounts for those booking in advance. Bookings are allowed until the maximum of permitted daily entrances is reached: 40,000 people. Without counting people who spend the night in Venice of course.
UNESCO: is Venice at risk?
This measure was mainly the reason why UNESCO decided not to include Venice in the “List of World Heritage Sites in Danger“, identifying world heritage sites that require urgent conservation interventions. Currently, there are 54 sites on the list, including the Old City of Jerusalem but also Everglades National Park in Florida (after Hurricane Andrew). The situation of the sites is assessed annually, and the Committee may request further conservation measures. Or even remove the site from the list of World Heritage Sites.
Is the ticket the same as the city tourist tax?
No, tourist tax (in Italian called tassa di soggiorno, literally staying tax) is due everywhere in Italy when you stay at a hotel. It’s a per night fee, varying a lot depending on the kind of accommodation you choose (and also on the destination: city/town/village). It can vary from €1 in small BBs in rural areas to €5 in five starred hotels in a city center (in Rome it can be up to €10).
You have to pay the tourist tax directly at the facility where you are staying. Therefore, it’s usually part of the final bill. Sometimes the host may ask you to pay it separately (also in cash, it happened to me a couple of times). Anyway, the amount of this tax is usually indicated somewhere on the accommodation website or on the booking provider page.