INTERNACIONAL.- Venice has installed temporary gates at the ends of two bridges to turn back tourists if their numbers become overwhelming. The Italian lagoon city put the measure in place for a four-day holiday weekend that ends on Labor Day, May 1.
By early Saturday afternoon, municipal police officers monitoring the flow of arrivals judged the crowds manageable enough that the gates didn’t need to be shut yet.
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Tourists far outnumber residents in carless Venice, where the narrow streets become almost impassable during peak travel times. Tourist arrivals will be tracked attentively with street cameras, allowing police to block off various entry points to the main island, canal walkways or streets. If some become too crowded, these will be closed off and tourists rerouted other ways.
All Venice residents, holders of resident transport cards, will be allowed to move freely without any restrictions. “We want to defend and save Venice,” the mayor said.
“It is a duty we have taken on [with Unesco, but above all] with our residents…Venice is delicate. If they respect the city, they are welcome.”
The Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro added, “We want to let people know that there are certain days the city will be crowded and we want to control the flows in different ways and move the crowds in different directions.”