The new Venice tourist tax to access the city center

With a staggering 20 million tourists visiting Venice annually – a number that increases every year – it’s no surprise that the city authorities have finally decided to impose a Venice tourist tax. A potential tax has been discussed for years, but 2019 is the year that it will be officially introduced. If you’re planning a trip to Venice, here’s what you need to know.

Why is a Venice tourist tax being introduced?

Venice tourist tax
Gondole and St. Mark’s Basilica in the background

Maintenance and cleaning in Venice is expensive, due to the constant stream of tourists and the special challenges of

maintaining an island city. A telling statistic is the fact that in high season, public bins have to be emptied every half an hour. Tens of thousands of daily visitors produce huge amounts of rubbish, which drives up the cost of keeping the city clean. Maintaining and restoring bridges, streets and buildings is also costly, as equipment has to be transported by boat.

To cope with the flow of visitors, Venice requires a full-time team of dedicated workers and experts; this obviously has a cost, and the city feels that it’s time for tourists to start contributing to the expenses. Some argue that taxes should be introduced in other overcrowded tourist destinations. The mayor of Florence would be in favour of a similar tax: “This is a norm that discourages hit-and-run tourism, which creates problems and inconveniences in the city without being counterbalanced by positive effects.”


How will the new tourist tax work?

Visitors to Italy will already be familiar with the concept of a tourist tax. A tourist who stays in a hotel in Rome or Florence, for example, will have to pay an extra daily tax of several euros. The price varies depending on the city, the length of the stay, and the kind of hotel.

The distinctive feature of the new Venice tourist tax is the fact it applies to daytrippers, such as cruise passengers, and not overnight visitors. Think of it as a museum entry fee – Venice is an open-air museum, and visitors must pay just to set foot in the city centre. Overnight visitors will continue to pay the standard tourist tax, and will not be affected by the new tax.

Visitors spending the day in Venice will have to pay a tax of between €2.50 and €10.00, depending on the time of year, with exemptions for students or people travelling for business.

A daytrip or an overnight stay?

Venice tourist tax
A typical Venice Carnival mask

Even with the new Venice tourist tax, it is obviously still cheaper to visit Venice for the day; accommodation,

especially on the island, and especially during high season, can be very expensive. If your time and budget is limited, you might prefer to visit Venice just for the day.

However, to truly experience Venice – to discover its hidden treasures and experience the city’s unique atmosphere after dark – you must stay overnight. Venice is much less crowded in the evening, after the cruise passengers have left, and it’s easier to appreciate the city’s charms. Staying for a couple of days also gives you more time for sightseeing – explore the quieter, more residential side of Venice in the Cannaregio neighbourhood, or take a trip to the beautiful island of Torcello. Visitors often underestimate the size of Venice’s historic centre, and it’s worth taking the time to explore in depth.

For more tips on planning your trip to Italy this year, contact Roads to Rome Private Tours.

Read more: Venice to charge day-trippers for access to city center (Washington Post)