A group of tourists who travelled to Venice have drawn the ire of their gondolier after he criticised them for looking at their phones for the whole ride.

One of the most popular items to do when tourists visit the north-eastern Italian city is to take a ride on a gondola through the historic Venetian canals.

Many use this opportunity to take in the architecture, scenery and culture, but one gondolier has publicly shamed his guests for spending the trip glued to their mobile devices.

The gondolier posted the video online saying: "A fantastic ride. The customers are very happy, they're enjoying the beauty of the city, they appreciate it a lot. They've taken lots of photos, made comments and said they will soon return to this wonderful city."

The four men were filmed sat inside the boat and staring at their phones the whole time, missing some the historic buildings around them.

The tourists appear oblivious to his criticisms as he speaks about them on the video ignoring the local architecture.

More than 20 million people visit Venice each year, and in a bid to cap numbers, the authorities have taken measures to help the already fragile, cramped and historic city.

New chains of pizza restaurants and bars have been banned from opening and calls to prevent the docking of giant cruise-liners have also been raised.

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A gondolier rows a gondola past Giudecca island in the Venetian lagoon Stefano Rellandini/Reuters