Venice Italy
Overcrowding is a major problem in Venice AFP News/ANDREA PATTARO

A travel warning has been issued to people heading to Italy in the coming days, with the country set to introduce new rules ahead of the peak summer season.

Venice is one of the most visited cities in Europe and not just in Italy for its canals and the gondolas that float along the water, with direct views of the picturesque Venetian Gothic architecture.

But if a traveller is looking to explore Venice's Old Town, they may face certain obstacles starting in a few weeks, including paying an entry fee and having restrictions on tour groups.

Last year, council officials of Venice announced that the city would be charging an entry fee from spring 2024 but not all travellers would have to pay.

Day-trippers to pay entry fee in Venice

This step from Venice came after an announcement from UNESCO that it was suggesting adding Venice to its endangered list, mostly due to damage caused by high tourist numbers. However, the City of Canals managed to avoid being added to the list, despite the risks that arise from over-tourism, floods and droughts.

Since the majority of tourists visit Venice only for a day, the city is set to charge a day-tripper fee, on a trial basis for now. From April 25, tourists planning to touch down for the day will have to pay €5 (£4.30). Residents, students, children under 14 and tourists staying overnight will be exempt from the entry fee.

When will the Venice entry fee 2024 be tested?

The entry fee is expected to be charged on the following dates between 8:30 AM and 4 PM local time:

April 25–30

May 1–5, 11–12, 18–19, 25–26

June 8–9, 15–16, 22–23, 29–30

July 6–7, 13–14

It has been reported that around 30 million travellers walk through the narrow streets of Venice. However, in 2022, only around 3.2 million people stayed overnight in the Italian ancient city, still far higher than the estimated 50,000 residents that live in the area.

In a bid to deal with mass tourism, Venice has decided to limit the number of groups that can visit the city in a day. Beginning on June 1, guided groups travelling to Venice and the equally famous islands of Burano and Torcello will be limited to a maximum of 25 people. This is roughly half the capacity of a standard tour bus – which can usually accommodate 50 passengers.

Elisabetta Pesce, who is in charge of security in Venice, has expressed that Venice is trying to promote "sustainable tourism" and guarantee the protection and safety of the city by imposing the latest rules, according to reports in the local media.

Venice is also looking to reduce pedestrian traffic in very popular areas such as Piazza San Marco and Murano's Via del Giudecca. Aiming at reducing noise pollution, Venice has also banned the use of loudspeakers as they can "generate confusion and disturbances".

Taking a selfie in Italy could lead to hefty fine

Venice, which is built on 126 islands, is not the only Italian hotspot to have introduced new rules to deal with over-tourism. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Italy – Amalfi Coast comprises 16 beautiful municipalities, including Positano.

Amalfi is home to narrow roads which make it very difficult for travellers to drive around. With the Italian hot spot receiving nearly five million tourists every year, the local authorities have devised a new rule to keep the situation under control, especially during the peak season.

In order to avoid any human traffic jams, Positano has imposed fines on people blocking the traffic to take a selfie. The fine is expected to be as high as £236 particularly during the peak holiday season.

Portofino - an Italian fishing village – last year announced a fine of £242 across two Instagram-famous photography spots. Those view points were then marked as red zones or "no waiting" areas.