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

Holidaymakers will have to pay an entry fee to visit Venice on a day trip, starting in spring next year.

After years of debate, the Venice municipal council has finally given the green light for the latest rule. Tourists travelling to the Italian historic city will have to pay £4.29 (€5) to enter on peak days, the Municipality of Venice announced on their official website.

But this isn't a permanent move yet and the Venice authorities have committed to a 30-day "experiment," according to Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro, who shared the news on X, formerly known as Twitter. The mayor also explained that Venice was still "open to everyone."

The latest rule has been introduced in a bid to deal with the over-tourism that Venice suffers from year after year. The city's council backed the decision just weeks after UN cultural agency UNESCO recommended Venice be added to its list of world heritage sites in danger because of the impact of mass tourism.

Who is exempt from Venice's entry fee?

Venice is yet to confirm how many tickets will be sold per day, meaning some holidaymakers could be denied entry if they arrive after the maximum number of entries. Instead of operating for one straight full month, the 30-day trial will take place on specific chosen days that are predicted to be the busiest days such as public holidays, holiday weekends and carnival periods next spring and summer.

Not everyone will have to pay the charge. Residents of Venice are exempt, as are students and kids under the age of 14. People with second homes in the floating city won't be charged an entry fee. Tourists staying in Venice overnight also won't have to pay the €5 charge. However, those with exemptions will still have to register online to book their trip.

Simone Venturini, the city's council member for tourism, said the new scheme was not about making money, but finding a "balance between the rights of those who live, study or work in Venice, and those who visit the city."

The proposal of an entry fee in Venice was first discussed back in 2018, with previous plans charging as much as €10 to enter. However, the new rule was postponed over the years due to fears it would affect tourist numbers, especially after Covid. Over the years, Italy has introduced other measures, including the ban of large cruise ships in 2021, due to the damage it was causing to the city's eco-system.