“Venexodus” protest: Crowds of Venetians marched through their city’s narrow, overcrowded streets last Saturday to protest against the effects of tourism. The demonstrators carried empty suitcases to symbolise what they refer to as their steady “Venexodus” from a city that has seen its resident population shrink from 175,000 in 1951 to just under 55,000 today. Venetians blame several factors for the decline in number, including high prices caused by the surge in tourism; the challenges of living in an overcrowded, carless city; and concerns about flooding. Some 25 million people a year now visit Venice, many of them debouching from vast cruise ships that moor in the lagoon. Images of Venetian alleys clogged with people during the All Saints holiday weekend filled Italian newspapers last week, rekindling the debate about limiting access to the city via a quota system.