Venice’s Santa Lucia railway station is packed as visitors scuttle across the concourse towards the water-bus stops. Taking a selfie against the backdrop of the Grand Canal, Ciro Esposito and his girlfriend have just arrived and are unimpressed with what may greet them in future if the Venetian authorities get their way: a minimum city entry fee of €2.50 throughout the year, rising to between €5 and €10 during peak periods.
It is the price of a cappuccino, but for them “it’s going too far”. “They are using people like a bank machine,” says Esposito. “We are in Europe and can travel freely across borders, yet we have to pay to enter one of our own cities.”