World's Greatest Places 2021
July 20, 2021 6:35 AM EDT

After a truly lousy 18 months—first the devastating floods of November 2019, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic—Venice is ready to begin again. Its focus: mitigating the crowds and the floods that have threatened the city’s fragile infrastructure. Authorities are proposing curbs on Airbnb lettings; cruise ships have been barred from sailing through the city center; and day-trippers will pay a tax from January 2022, reducing the load on the city’s delicate streets. Meanwhile, newly functioning barriers mean increased protection against flooding, with extra protection on the way for the low-lying St. Mark’s Square. In 2017, the city banned new hotel developments in the city center—meaning Ca’ di Dio, a five-star hotel opening this summer, will be one of the last grand additions, as will the Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Nani, located in a 16th century patricians’ home. Local businesses are doing their bit too—like Go Guide, a group of 19 local tour guides who joined forces to create itineraries that take visitors beyond the popular sights of the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Basilica to unknown corners such as the city’s ancient red-light district and a medieval banking area. The basilica, which was closed for restoration after those 2019 floods, has since reopened. —Julia Buckley

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