Tourism traffic diversions for May 1 holiday create controversy in Venice


Tourist management, nightmare crowds at Venice

Foot traffic diverted and ferries from Punta Sabbioni moved from San Marco to Fondamente Nuove. These are the two new provisions in the ordinance for the May 1 holiday.

By Alberto Vitucci

VENEZIA. Foot traffic diverted, and ferries coming from Punta Sabbioni moved to Fondamente Nuove. These are the two new provisions in the ordinance for the May 1 holiday, in force from Friday until Tuesday.

These are the first attempts to guide a flow of tourists which promises to have a great impact, as was seen in the “pre-tests” over Easter. However conflicts have already arisen regarding the ferries. “We don’t want to turn the Fondamente Nuove in to a new Tronchetto, we would not be able to live even here in Cannaregio”, explains a resident. “No problem, it is an experimental provision, which would be in effect only for a few days a year on ‘bollino nero’ days”, they say at Ca’ Farsetti.

However the ban on disembarking at San Marco has also provoked a reaction among the ferry owners. “This is a crazy decision, made overnight”, said Luca Manara, an administrator with Marco Polo, one of the most important transportation companies with Gran Turismo, “we are looking at a simulation of what can happen bringing boats of our size in that canal. And where will the people disembark? On a three meter wide fondamenta?”

Protests are mounting. Obviously the tour operators who work out of Punta Sabbioni and the coast are not happy at being “downgraded” and evicted from San Marco. “There are also traffic problems at the Fondamene Nuove”, insists Manara, “the place is already a dangerous intersection. There is traffic from vaporetti, motorboats, taxis, airport ferries and ambulances at the nearby hospital. It is a risk”.

The companies of Gran Turismo and the coast will demonstrate today just how difficult it is to maneuver in that part of the Lagoon. “This does not even take in to account the fact,” they say, “that we have signed contracts with the guides. The groups will not accept being unloaded so far away from San Marco. This does not seem very consistent, as it only penalizes our sector. They say that they want to limit day-visitor tourists. But they have built hotels all over the place on the mainland: 4800 new beds. These people arrive en masse by train and crowd the city”.

The idea of moving the ferries away from the San Marco area is not new. It was discussed ten years ago, when this type of traffic had begun to grow, with then plan at the time being a dock at Sant’Elena. This was blocked by the residents concerned about dangerous traffic concentrated near Ca’ di Dio and Cornoldi, and thousands of people unloading all at the same time in boats arriving from Tronchetto, Chioggia, the coast and Jesolo.

The transformation of the area is evident, with the arrival of dozens of ‘mega’ kiosks and walking vendors. But now the area of San Marco is saturated. So the City thought of an experiment to move a part of Gran Turismo away from San Marco, and to send it to Fondamente Nuove, where the vessels and motorboats of Actv are currently parked. In a few days, work will begin to refit the wharves. And so the northern area of the City, until now “safe” enough from the hordes of day tourists, will become a port for this type of visitor and the large groups. “Only in particularly difficult days”, repeats the City.

Nevertheless the big question raised by UNESCO and Italia Nostra continues to be avoided. How can the tourist pressure on Venice be reduced? Will it be enough to move the arrivals, already well over the limits, from San Marco to the northern part of the city?

Source La Nuova Venezia, 27 April 2018

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