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Reader question: How will Venice’s tourist tax affect second-home owners?

Those who live in Venice are exempt from paying a new charge for tourists - but how do the rules apply to other frequent visitors who aren't resident?

View of Venice's Grand Canal
Day-trippers looking to access Venice’s city centre and its smaller islands will be charged an entry fee starting from January 16th 2023. Photo by Laurent EMMANUEL / AFP

Question: I own a property in Venice, but I’m not registered as a resident as I don’t live there permanently. Will the new ‘tourist tax’ apply to me?

Many people who own homes in Italy are not registered as residents, even if they spend significant amounts of time in the country.

But in certain parts of the country, second-home owners and other frequent visitors are becoming concerned that they may now be hit by additional charges and rules aimed at controlling tourist crowds.

Venice will introduce a new entry fee in January 2023. While residents will no doubt be exempt from the tax, what are the rules for others who spend a lot of time in the area – but aren’t officially resident?

READ ALSO: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

Commonly known as the ‘tourist tax’, the new charge or contributo di accesso will apply to daytrippers looking to visit the city centre or any of Venice’s smaller islands.

It will cost between three and ten euros and will be in place from January 16th, 2023, city mayor Luigi Brugnaro confirmed earlier this month.

The goal of the measure, said Brugnaro, is to encourage visitors to stay in the city overnight, and to better regulate seasonal crowds as Venice’s pre-pandemic overtourism problems begin to resurface. 

While it was clear as far back as last April that those residing within the Comune di Venezia – which includes Mestre and all minor islands – would be exempt from paying the entry fee, uncertainty still lingers over others who are not registered as residents in Venice.

The local authority’s website states that those who own “property located within Venice’s municipality and their close family members” will be exempt from the fee, as long as they’ve paid their taxes: second-home owners are required to pay a tax known as IMU (Imposta Municipale Unica, or Unified Municipal Tax) on the property in question. 

It’s worth noting that IMU must be paid by all second-home owners, regardless of their nationality. It’s generally paid in two instalments: one in summer and the other in the last months of the year (this year’s second payment is due on December 16th).

READ ALSO: Can second-home owners get an Italian residence permit?

So, are we certain that those who own a second home in Venice and regularly pay their IMU are exempt from the entry fee? Well, they should be.

But Venice’s city council hasn’t yet approved the final text of the decree setting out the rules for applying the charge. So for now, this exemption is not confirmed.

Additionally, should the exemption for second-home owners be confirmed, it isn’t yet clear what type of documents they would be asked to produce in order to confirm their ‘exempt’ status. 

Alongside residents and second-home owners, those working or studying in Venice’s city centre or any of its smaller islands should also be exempt from the contributo, as will be visitors spending the night in one of the city’s hospitality structures (hotels, B&Bs, hostels and so on). 

Exceptions are also expected to apply to children under six years of age, anyone born within the Comune di Venezia, people with disabilities and their carers, public officials, and people visiting family members. A full list is available here

The local authority in Venice is expected to confirm the rules and exemptions in the coming weeks.

Find more information about how the new charges will apply in a separate article here.

Do you have a burning question about life in Italy that you’d like the The Local’s writers to answer? Email us here.

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CULTURE

Venice Carnival: What to expect if you’re attending in 2023

After three years of toned-down celebrations, Venice's famous Carnival is finally set to return to its former grandeur. Here’s what you need to know about this year’s edition.

Venice Carnival: What to expect if you're attending in 2023

The historic Venice Carnival – a tradition which dates back to the late 14th century – will be back in all of its splendour this year as the upcoming edition of the festival will be the first one without pandemic-related restrictions since 2019. 

As the undisputed queen of Italian Carnival, Venice will once again put on a full programme of water parades, masked balls, fine dining experiences and street art performances spread over 18 days of sheer carnevale fun.

If you’re planning on taking part in the city’s Carnival celebrations, here’s a quick guide to this year’s main events.

What are the dates?

The Venice Carnival will officially start on Saturday, February 4th with a night parade streaming down the city’s iconic Grand Canal accompanied by music, dance performances and light shows.

READ ALSO: Nine ways to get into trouble while visiting Venice

The parade will kick off two weeks of events, unfolding both in the centro storico (city centre) and on the smaller islands of the lagoon.

As always though, celebrations will peak in the six days between giovedì grasso (‘Fat Thursday’, falling on February 16th) and martedì grasso (shrove Tuesday, falling on February 21st). 

A masked reveller wearing a traditional carnival costume In St Mark's Square, Venice

The 2023 Venice Carnival will start with a floating parade down the Grand Canal on February 4th. Photo by Andrea PATTARO / AFP

The most popular and widely anticipated events of the Venice Carnival are scheduled to take place during those days. However, that will also be the time when the city’s calli and squares will be most crowded. 

What are the main events?

Celebrations will start with the above-mentioned floating parade on Saturday, February 4th, and continue on the following day with another water parade involving traditional Venetian vessels and captained by the beloved Pantegana (a boat shaped like a giant sewer rat).

Apart from that, the Festa delle Marie – a historic beauty pageant during which 12 young local women are dressed up in Renaissance costumes, paraded throughout the city, and then subjected to a vote as to which of them makes the best Maria – will start on Saturday, February 11th. 

The winner of the contest will be announced in Saint Mark’s Square on shrove Tuesday, the final day of the festival. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why Venice has delayed its ‘tourist tax’ – again

Original Signs, a music and dancing show performed on six floating stages set within the iconic Venetian Arsenal (the former seat of the Venetian navy), will begin on Friday, February 10th, with performances running on a nearly daily basis until the end of the festival.

Original Signs will run alongside Original Sinners, a fine dining experience followed by a masked ball at the magnificent Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, a 15th century palace facing the Grand Canal which is also the current seat of Venice’s Casino. 

As with Original Signs, the event will be available to the public on multiple dates.

Masked revellers wearing a traditional carnival costume pose in St Mark Square, Venice

The historic ‘Flight of the Angel’ will not take place this year due to ongoing work in St Mark’s Square. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

Aside from major events, street art performances, workshops, exhibitions and seminars will take place at various venues across the city for the entire duration of the festival. Some of these require booking in advance, which you can do on the Venice Carnival official website

On a rather sombre note, the Volo dell’Angelo (‘Flight of the Angel’), the traditional ceremony in which a costumed woman ‘flies’ down a cable from the bell tower in Saint Mark’s Square to the centre of the piazza, will not be performed this year due to ongoing repair work

How busy will it be?

The 2023 edition of the Venice Carnival is expected to mark a “final return to normality”, according to local media.  

And, with just a couple of days to go until the official start of the festival, it looks like the floating city is about to experience pre-pandemic numbers of visitors – current estimates indicate that around half a million people will visit the city over Carnival.

According to Claudio Scarpa, president of Venice’s Hoteliers Association, local hotels “will soon be all but fully booked for weekends”, though large numbers of bookings are also being registered on weekdays, especially those in “the last stages of the festival”.

Given the expected turnout, local transport operator ACTV will enhance their services for the entire duration of the Carnival to avoid overcrowding on buses and water buses. 

For more details about the Venice Carnival and bookings, see the festival’s official website

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