A complaint against Venice has been taken to the EU for gouging visitors.
The two-tier system of charging means that tourists pay far more than Venetian locals for services. It is being claimed that this is in breach of the EU regulations on equality.
The unnamed complainant who wishes to remain anonymous is known to be of both Italian and Belgian nationalities. He believes the difference in prices amounts to unfair discrimination.
His five-page dossier highlights the widely differing prices. For example, visitors need to pay €18 to visit the Doges’ Palace, and €5 a day for wi-fi while Venetians face no charges.
While locals pay just €1.30 for the vaporetti, or water buses, a tourist must stump up €7 for a ticket. Another €1.50 has to be deployed to use a public lavatory, but locals need just 25 cents.
He estimates that a tourist family of four must spend €136 for an average day of sightseeing whereas locals would pay just €12.40.
“European treaties call for freedom of movement and equal treatment for all the citizens of the EU,” he told La Stampa newspaper.
“Applying this sort law, where entrance to museums is free for those born in the city, makes Venice unique in Europe. Imagine if they did the same thing in Paris, London or Rome.”
(Ed note – this is not wholly true as locals can visit the cathedral in Faro for free while others must pay.)
Many residents, however, feel that coping with the 20 million visitors who crowd the city each year means that they earn the difference in prices.
Silvio Testa, a Venetian campaigner against the giant cruise ships entering the city, said: “Tourism is a tsunami that devours the city.
“The double pricing system is the lesser evil, a small consolation for the 59,000 people who cling on to living in Venice, which is becoming like Disneyland.”