Officials are fed up with the “eat and flee” tourism pervading the picturesque north eastern city, with huge numbers of mainly British, American and Chinese visitors disembarking from cruise ships, dashing to landmarks for selfies and quickly sailing off again.
The Italian government has dubbed it “low-quality tourism” and Dario Franceschini, Italy’s culture minister, is concerned the Renaissance city is losing its identity.
“If you arrive on a big ship, get off, you have two or three hours, follow someone holding a flag to Piazzale Roma, Ponte di Rialto and San Marco and turn around,” he told the New York Times.
“The beauty of Italian towns is not only the architecture, it’s also the actual activity of the place, the stores, the workshops.”
The surge in cruise ship tourism has led to locals leaving in their droves.
In 1951 there were 175,000 Venetians still living close to the famous Grand Canal. Today only 50,000 remain.
Tommaso Mingati told the NYT his family had moved out to the mainland area of Mestre, after his mother complained of the city becoming a “Disneyland on the Sea”.
But even now, locals are upping sticks and moving away from here, due to the profusion of bed and breakfasts popping up to accommodate short stay holidaymakers.
The enormous vessels ferrying the tourists into Venice are also a cause of consternation.
Some are so large they blot out the sunlight and obscure famous landmarks, and locals have started selling t-shirts portraying the cruise ships as shark-like predators.
Mr Franceschini dubbed them “an unacceptable spectacle”.
Now the Italian government is considering limiting the number of tourists into the city or its famous landmarks.
A social media campaign #EnjoyRespectVenezia, has also been set up, encouraging tourists to explore traditional artisan workshops and buy goods from longstanding independent stores instead of opportunistic street vendors.
But although ministers and locals are worried about Venice losing its identity, there is a counter argument that banning tourists will also cost the city a huge chunk of its economy.
Despite their brief stay, tourists spend high amounts in shops and restaurants and provide work for the gondoliers and water taxis.
While the so-called “low-quality” tourism might cheapen the cultural heritage of the city in the eyes of ministers, it never the less helps keep it afloat.