One of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy is getting a bit too popular.
The picturesque and charming coastal "Italian Riviera" is looking at ways to limit the number of people who visit.Cinque Terre (Five Lands) is built atop a rugged portion of coastline in northwestern Italy along the Mediterranean coast, not far from Florence. Its multi-hued villages and water views are challenged by increasing numbers of tourists coming from all over the world.
Cars are not permitted and some of its trails are so narrow that they can only be traversed single file. A footpath between the towns of Corneglia and Monterosso charges a steep daily fee to use it.
If a proposed ticketing cap is actually imposed in the future, some people who wish to visit will not be able to. Reports in La Repubblica led to a kind of panic among tourists who plan to visit the popular area this summer.
How Can Restrictions Be Imposed?
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage listed site which means it's protected, and Italian authorities value that immensely. However there appears to be a power struggle over who will handle the issue and how.
Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, the park authority complains about an "irrational pursuit of profits" on the part of the tourism headquarters. The site is translated from Italian but appears to assert that a dialogue needs to take place before any decisions can be made.
"Only the territory, and no one else, has to decide how and how many people it can welcome," writes the park authority.
Let's be clear: If you have booked a trip already for 2016, this does not apply to you.
However, there is the possibility that as early as 2017 or 2018, restrictions will be created. According to the Italian Tourist Bureau in London, there have been no further updates about the proposed travel restrictions.
A ticket system was proposed, but the logistics of setting up and enforcing such a system are being debated.
Spanish Steps also Imperiled by Burgeoning Tourism
Other UNESCO protected areas in Italy have been damaged by human traffic, such as the Spanish Steps in Rome, but there is nothing authorities can do about that because they are part of the street.
"They always crowded, especially in high seasons, but we can't limit traffic in an open piazza," Antonello La Ferrara of the Italian National Tourism Board in New York City told us.
It’s likely that the easiest and least hassle-free way to visit Cinque Terre and its picturesque towns will be via an organized tour. You can book the tour and everything will be sorted out for you.
An organized tour, or booking through a travel agent, will guarantee you access and the latest information on what is available when you go.
Want to know more about traveling to Italy—where to go and where to stay? We have independent and escorted tour options. Give us a call at 877-723-0802.