Popular European holiday attraction announces ‘drastic decision’ as they slash visitor numbers | The Sun

A POPULAR European must-see attraction has made the "drastic decision" to slash visitor numbers in order to preserve its beauty.

The lakeside villa, famed for its role in blockbusters like James Bond and Star Wars, will halve its visitor allowance as Italy continues to battle with the effects of overtourism.

Villa del Balbianello, set on the shores of the luxurious Lake Como in northern Italy, is significantly cutting the number of tourists who can visit each day from 2,000 to 1,200.

The elegant 18th Century mansion featured in the 2006 Bond film Casino Royale as well as Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and draws in tourists from far and wide.

The villa was built in 1787 out of the ruins of a Franciscan convent and is often used for weddings, events and film scenes – but recently has been feeling the crush of its high footfall.

Reducing the number of visitors was “a drastic decision”, said the FAI, the Italian equivalent of The National Trust.

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The new rules are designed to counter the effect of “an excess of tourism that has an ever great impact on Lake Como," they told The Telegraph.

Although the villa will see a large drop in its revenue, the FAI say that the decision was necessary to protect the villa and its gardens.

They argued that allowing too many tourists to visit "not only puts at risk the preservation of the property" but also "damages its image".

Post-pandemic, Italy has seen hoards of holidaymakers readily return to its major sites, leading to despair over the dangers posed by mass tourism.

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Sixty million tourists are expected to flock to the country this year now that travel restrictions have ceased – almost returning to pre-pandemic levels.

While restaurateurs, hoteliers, tourist guides and taxi drivers welcome these numbers, locals are increasingly fed-up with dealing with the strain and experts despair over the environmental impact.

UNESCO this week advised that Venice be added to the list of World Heritage sites in danger.

The experts slammed Italy for not mitigating the effects of climate change and mass tourism on the canal city.

Meanwhile, British holidaymakers have been warned they could be slapped with £430 fines in an Italian resort town for something as simple as eating an ice cream.

Local authorities in Sant'Antioco, Sardinia have launched a major crackdown on tourists in order to better preserve their beaches by rolling out 23 controversial new restrictions.

Food will be banned on the beach along with taking part in sports, using an umbrella or playing music. Even those who are caught munching on a snack – could face the maximum fine.

Elsewhere, travellers planning to bask in the sunshine of Italy's Amalfi coast need to make sure they keep updated with the rules.

The surge of tourists in the area led to traffic and access problems, which the authorities hope to reduce with a bizarre new regulationthat will ban certain tourists depending on their car license plate.

From June until September, on even-numbered days cars with license plates ending in an even number are not allowed to travel, while on odd-numbered days, cars ending in an odd-number cannot be driven in the area.

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Italy isn't the only country rolling-out measures to curb overtourism as a Brit holiday hotspot in Greece has announced a major rule change this week.

Visits to the Acropolis of Athens, one of Greece's most popular archaeological sites will be capped from next month at 20,000 tourists daily, the Greek government said on Wednesday.

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