The Italian Government has recently revealed plans to tax tourists entering Venice in an effort to increase revenue.
The announcement comes on the back of the erection of controversial billboards which have been covering most of the Bridge of Sighs during repair work. Advertisements cover the famous bridge to such an extent it has been locally renamed the ‘Bridge of Signs’.
Visitors to the city could find themselves paying a one off fee whether they arrive by rail, air or sea yet it is unclear at the moment how much the charge will be.
Venice receives around 20 million visitors a year and the tax will bring much needed revenue to a city whose exquisite monuments, eloquent palaces and fine churches are desperately in need of restoration.
The idea was devised by the minister for public administration and innovation, Renato Brunetta and is supported by the mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni.
The mayor has also defended the erection of the advertising billboards which are hiding many of Venice’s famous landmarks and have been branded a ‘violation’ of some of the famous sights. Orsoni insists that the commercial advertising is necessary to pay for much needed repairs to the historic city stating, “The only way to get around the problem would be to have a magic wand and repair all the buildings in Venice without having to cover them up.”
He also added that as money was very tight he would be more than willing to accept public donations if that would make the situation better.
Finding funds to restore such a fantastic city has been a huge problem for many years now with the restoration of the Doge’s Palace, the city’s main seat of government when it was an independent state, costing over €2.8 million alone.
The advertising billboards will go a long way to helping to pay for the upkeep of the city, but if it deteriorates too much, visitor numbers will drop, therefore a tourist tax could be the only way forward in ensuring that such a beautiful and historical city remains so for many years to come.