Venice has a history of successfully managing threats from the sea. Throughout the Renaissance, the Most Serene Republic fought the Ottoman navy for dominance in the Mediterranean. Turkish galleys and galiots have long since given way to a new threat: cruise liners, which tower over the City of Masks. After a collision involving the MSC Opera, the Italian government has ordered these floating tubs of fun to steer clear of the city centre.

Mass tourism is not a new challenge for Venice or other cities, though it is a stiffer one. The US trade war may have contributed to a slowdown in Chinese tourism overseas in the short term, but the country’s travelling middle class are here to stay. Ever larger packs of camera-toting, trinket-purchasing tourists of all nationalities bring rewards to savvy cities, and risks to the ill-prepared...

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