Is Venice's popularity slowly 'killing' the city?

Gondola Credit: ITV News
  • Video report by ITV News Europe Editor James Mates

One of Italy's top tourist draws, Venice, looks like it may be becoming a victim of its own success with the city starting to struggle with the number of visitors it attracts.

According to those living in the canal laden city the issue is that while they are happy to share the beauty of their home with others the size of Venice poses potential problems.

Matteo Secchi, a Venice campaigner, told ITV New's Europe Editor James Mates: "We love the tourists and we would like everybody in the world to come to Venice to visit us but not everybody at the same time because Venice is a small place."

Barbara Warburton, who has lived in Venice for 40 years and campaigns for the number of visitors to be controlled, blamed cruise ships for overrunning the city with tourists - something the Port Authority disputes.

She said: "The number of tourists that are vomited onto Venice each time that they come...and its not just one ship at a time, some days there are six or seven of these enormous monsters."

Some have argued it is the cruise ships that are the problem Credit: ITV News

Some Venetians feel so strongly about the situation there have even been seaborne protest against cruise ships but so far they have had no effect.

On the other hand the Port Authority does very well from an industry that employs 11% of the cities workforce and its president Pino Musolino argues it is not the ships are the problem.

He said: "The real issue of the pressure of tourists in Venice is not given by the cruise sectors it's given by those uncontrolled tourists who come in.

"Probably because they are residing and sleeping far away so no money for the city, they're not eating here so no money for the city and they're not producing a positive economically effect on the town."