Out of all European destinations, Venice is perhaps the most sought-after among American tourists.
Having featured extensively in the media and existing in our collective imagination as Italy’s magical city on water, it draws in millions of tourists every year.
Sadly, Venice has been battling its own serious issues lately, and it seems to be failing to overcome them, making it an increasingly less attractive destination in what’s already an overcrowded country.
But how exactly is the maritime power meeting its downfall – once again – and why should you avoid it?
In this article, we will give you 5 reasons why Venice is best avoided this year (and early fall):
Pickpockets Are Out In Droves
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the last few weeks, you’ve probably scrolled past a series of videos of an enthusiastic Italian woman denouncing ‘borseggiatori’ in Venice.
The infamous ‘pickpockets’ roam the canal city targeting newcomers who are not yet familiar with local safety measures.
Recently, Italy was named the absolute worst for pickpocketing in Europe, and a majority of occurrences seem to be centered in the tourist hotspots of Rome, Milan, Florence, and of course, Venice, as it is one of the country’s leading destinations.
Overall, there are 463 pickpocketing mentions across Italian cities for every million visitors, the highest figure in Europe.
As Venice accounts for a sizable percentage of those petty crimes, which tend to soar over summer, it is probably not the best place to be right now.
Locals Can’t Stand Tourists
If there’s one thing Italians, and in particular Venetians, disapprove of more than pineapple on pizza is tourists. Well, let us rephrase this: hordes of tourists.
Though Italy is heavily reliant on American dollars, with tourism accounting for close to 10% of its GDP, locals and authorities alike have repeatedly expressed their dislike of gentrification and price fluctuations caused by mass tourism and the crowding of historic centers.
Venice is no different, as it gets jam-packed not only in summer but year-round, with iconic points of interest such as the Piazza San Marco seeing excessive crowding day and night.
Speaking in an American or British accent, you will soon notice some Venetians may look at you as if they’re rolling their eyes internally, or you could even get a taste of their world-renowned rudeness towards tourists.
Don’t get us wrong, Italians are incredibly warm, friendly people, but they are navigating a fine line between being receptive to tourism, as it is part of their income, and having their livelihoods disrupted due to an uncontrolled increase in the number of visitors – and they have made their dissatisfaction known a number of times before.
There Is A Ticketing System Coming
Venice is so fed up with tourists that it now wants to introduce a ticketing system set to affect all American, British, and European passport holders visiting the lagoon and its many islands.
In other words, you will need to buy a ticket to enter the city, which only adds to the cost of visiting, as tourists are already subject to a visitor tax, and a ban on day trips when traveling as cruise passengers. Though the measure is yet to be implemented, it has already been confirmed.
Once implemented, tickets will be issued as QR codes to be checked upon entry at one of the city’s to-be-designated entry points. As you can see, this is a destination that has made it clear tourists should reconsider visiting unless they are willing to stay longer and pay up.
Venice Is Mad Expensive
On the topic of affordability, Venice is probably one of the most expensive cities for tourists not only in Italy but all of Southern Europe.
According to the popular crowd-sourced database Budget Your Trip, a peak-season trip to Venice will cost on average $253 per day, with tourists expected to spend on average $71 for meals per day at mid-range restaurants and around $30 on public transportation.
Additionally, hotel prices for two individuals average $265 per night, increasing the cost of a week-long sejour in Venice to roughly $3,542.
Unless you’re saving up by not eating out most nights, staying in a shared room in a hostel, and skipping museums, a Venice vacay surely has the potential to break the bank if you’re a budget traveler.
Venice Risks Becoming A World Heritage Site In Danger
Finally, UNESCO has recommended adding Venice to its list of World Heritage Sites in danger, largely due to overtourism concerns and the city’s failed attempts at adapting to the climate crisis.
As you should know by now, Venice is built on a complex ecosystem of islands scattered around a shallow lagoon, and it often sees either flooding or disruptive droughts depending on the season that often leave its picturesque canals drained for days on end.
These disturbances continuously threaten to damage the city’s architectural treasures, not to mention the scale of tourism it experiences, which contributes to more littering, the degradation of public spaces, and overall deterioration as a result of human interference.
UNESCO now believes Venice, one of our civilization’s greatest feats, faces ‘irreversible damage’, and proposes it is added to the organization’s in-danger listing from September. This means tourists should expect heightened surveillance and even more restrictive measures to curb visitation.
All in all, it’s not the best time to pay the Queen of the Adriatic a visit, but there are always lesser-known alternatives in Northern Italy that receive far fewer tourists and are just as charming and rich in History as Venice is.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com