Venice canals clear up due to Covid-19 lockdown

18 Mar 2020 by Hannah Brandler
Panoramic view of Venice

Venice has long been suffering from over-tourism, but this has changed with the outbreak of Covid-19.

Italian Prime Minister Conte enforced a nationwide lockdown earlier this month.

Formerly busy streets and canals have fallen quiet, and reports say that the city’s canals have cleared up for the first time in many years due to this drop in visitors. The canals are usually clouded and murky, polluted by the diesel-powered commuter boats and water buses. Residents have posted images of wildlife returning to the canals, which include shoals of fish, swans and dolphins. 

The city has also seen an improvement in air quality due to the reduced traffic. More widely,  The European Space Agency released a video showing a drop in nitrogen dioxide in Italy since early January – a result of the nationwide lockdown.

Before the onset of the pandemic, Italy had been focusing on putting in place restrictions on tourism, many of which are still in place. For instance, from July this year, Venice will introduce a tax of €3 during the low season and €10 in high season. There are plans to charge day visitors up to €10 per day.

Italy is suffering from the worst outbreak of Covid-19 in Europe, with almost 3,000 deaths as of today.

For our guide to tourist taxes around the world (written before the current pandemic), see…

Smart traveller: A guide to tourist tax

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