No loudspeakers or large tour groups: Venice clamps down again

First they came for the cruise ships, banning them from docking within the lagoon. Then they tried a tourist tax, which residents said ‘Disney-fied’ their city and would do nothing to prevent the hordes of visitors. Now, Venice has come for the loudspeakers and the tour groups.

As of June 1, Venice’s city center and the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello no longer allow tour groups larger than 25 people. And regardless of how big the tour is, no-one is allowed to shout canal fun facts through loudspeakers. No one is allowed to shout anything through a loudspeaker at all.

That’s welcome news for more mindful travelers who want to visit without battling massive groups, says Zina Bencheikh, managing director of Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Intrepid Travel (which owns

“The last time I went, I felt truly overwhelmed by the masses of tourists often there for a short stop, traveling in big groups, mostly guided by foreigners using loudspeakers,” she wrote in a LinkedIn post about the news. “Many of these day trippers do not buy much from the locals and, as a result, only leave a negative impact on the protected heritage site. The ‘gelato’ tourists, as locals like to call them.”

There are fewer than 50,000 residents left in the historic center, and about 262,000 in all of Venice. But about 30 million tourists visit each year, according to the BBC—and they do not seem to be deterred by a new EUR5 fee to enter the old city, which went into effect in late April. Visitors have to buy it in advance online, and risk fines of up to EUR300 if they try to get away without paying it.

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