A popular tourist hotspot in Italy is limited the number of tourists that can visit this summer in a bid to curb overcrowding.
The sun-kissed Amalfi Coast is imposing new rules that aim to stop tourists from visiting every day because of the high volume of traffic plaguing its narrow roads.
The region, which is a stretch of coastline along the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, is famed for its colourful buildings, sheer cliffs and small beaches, but it has long suffered from long queues on its often single-lane roads, blocking off access to the town.
What are the new rules?
The new rules, introduced on Wednesday (15 June), means that certain tourists will be banned from accessing the famous 22-mile stretch between Vietri sul Mare and Positano depending on their car number plate.
The system should halve tourist traffic on the road and will work by only allowing cars with number plates ending in an odd number to use the road on odd-numbered dates during peak hours in peak season. Cars with number plates ending in an even number can only visit on even-numbered days.
The rules apply between 10am and 6pm for the whole of August, plus on weekends from 15 June to 30 September, according to CNN Travel.
Residents of the 13 towns along the coast are exempt from the rules, along with public buses, taxis and NCC cars, which are hired with a driver. But standard rental cars are included in the ban.
Anas, the authority which manages the roads, has also completely banned vehicles over 10.36 metres long. Caravans and vehicles with trailers will only be able to use the road between midnight and 6:30am.
Anyone who tries to visit on the wrong day will not be allowed to enter and could face being issued a fine by local police.
Angela Infante, deputy mayor of Vietri sul Mare, the gateway town to the coast, told CNN the new rules had been needed for some time, saying there would often be queues up to nearly four miles long along the coast before the pandemic.
She said: "It’s started again this year -- you can’t drive at weekends, people are trapped at home.
"You have to drive incredibly slowly because there are so many cars, and often it’s completely blocked.
"Apart from anything else, you could have an ambulance [in that traffic] and anything could happen - we have to limit the heavy traffic."
Some locals have praised the new measures, but others fear it could deter tourists from visiting the area.
One local told CNN: "It discourages tourists. It makes it impossible to stay for an odd number of days. If you arrive on Wednesday, you can’t leave on Thursday.
"It’s not like you can send your rental car back on Amazon.
"Tourists need to be able to leave when they want -- to get to the airport or the train station or Salerno.”
Tourists to face Venice entry fee
The new rules are not the only restriction tourists visiting Italy face, as Venice is set to introduce an entry fee from next year.
Travellers heading to Venice will have to pay a fee from around €10 during peak season and will have to pre-book their visit.
The rule was originally scheduled to take effect in June as part of a six-month pilot scheme, but it has been postponed with authorities in Venue voting to delay it until 16 January 2023.
The scheme aims to limit the number of tourists that can enter the city each day, meaning people could be turned away if there are too many visitors.
It is intended to encourage tourists to stay overnight in Venice, rather than just visiting for the day.