Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Tourists out­num­ber res­i­dents by dou­ble-digit mil­lions. To re­claim the Dutch cap­i­tal, of­fi­cials are mulling or have ex­e­cuted sev­eral laws, such as dou­bling the tax on ho­tel rooms and banning short­term Airbnb rentals and sou­venir shops in the his­tor­i­cal cen­tre. In the red-light dis­trict, law en­force­ment of­fi­cers have started tick­et­ing bad be­hav­iour such as pub­lic drink­ing and lit­ter­ing. To lure vis­i­tors out of the choked cen­tre, the tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion re­spon­si­ble for the City Card ex­panded ben­e­fits to in­clude day trips out­side the city, such as to Haar­lem, Zaanse Schans and Keuken­hof. Tulips, bikes and wa­ter­ways de­fine Am­s­ter­dam, but the trio also de­scribe Ljubl­jana. The cap­i­tal of Slove­nia shares many of the same at­tributes as its western neigh­bour, such as the Vol­cji Po­tok Ar­bore­tum, which holds a tulip ex­hi­bi­tion ev­ery April; a bike-share pro­gramme with rentals and more than 5450 cy­cling routes; and the Ljubl­jana River. Ljubl­jana is more green than red. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion crowned the city the Euro­pean Green Cap­i­tal in 2016. You can in­hale the fresh air aboard Kavalirs (Gen­tle Helpers), the free, elec­tric pub­lic trans­port sys­tem, and in Tivoli Garden, the city’s largest park. The Cen­tral Mar­ket is a feed­ing frenzy. At the Open Mar­ket, which runs April through Oc­to­ber, more than 30 chefs pre­pare local and in­ter­na­tional dishes. In Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional’s 2017 list of the top 100 cities, four Ital­ian metro cen­tres made the cut. Rome took 12th place – Mi­lan, Venice and Florence were far be­hind. The mar­ket­ing re­search firm ex­pects vis­i­tor num­bers to sur­pass 10 mil­lion by 2020. In 2015, the Span­ish Steps closed for a year to re­verse da­m­age caused by too many touchy peo­ple. The lines to en­ter the city’s Ro­man ruins and mu­se­ums are no­to­ri­ous. More than 2000 foun­tains add a cool splash to the cityscape. To keep the wa­ter fea­tures clear of snacks and limbs, a new rule will fine any­one caught eat­ing or drink­ing on the edges of 40 foun­tains or tak­ing a dip in its wa­ters. Like Rome, the ghosts of Ro­man civil­i­sa­tion haunt this Piemonte city in north­ern Italy. You can find them un­der your feet, on the cob­ble­stone streets, and loom­ing over­head, in the 16-sided tow­ers book­end­ing the Pala­tine Gate. Quadri­latero Ro­mano, or the Ro­man Quar­ter, show­cases the pe­riod’s sig­na­ture grid as well as an­cient wall ruins and the ex­ca­vated re­mains of a Ro­man the­atre. Turin was the first cap­i­tal of Uno Italy. Among the com­plex’s cul­tural at­trac­tions: the Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Mu­seum; the Royal Garden, Ar­moury and Li­brary; and the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, which re­opened in Septem­ber af­ter a 28-year clo­sure. The Na­tional Au­to­mo­bile Mu­seum has amassed a col­lec­tion of more than 200 ve­hi­cles from through­out Europe and the United States. The daisy chain of five me­dieval vil­lages along the Ital­ian Riviera is wilt­ing. Hordes of peo­ple ar­riv­ing by train, cruise ship and mo­tor coach are cram­ming into towns with lim­ited space and mod­est ameni­ties. The 2.4 mil­lion an­nual vis­i­tors are stul­ti­fy­ing Riomag­giore, Ma­narola, Corniglia, Ver­nazza, and Mon­terosso, which cu­mu­la­tively sup­port about 4000 res­i­dents. The rugged hik­ing trails that con­nect the dots are heav­ing un­der the foot traf­fic and sev­eral routes are tem­po­rar­ily closed. There has been chat­ter about lim­it­ing the num­ber of hik­ers on routes that charge a fee and up­dat­ing the park’s app to in­clude Cinque Terre pedes­trian traf­fic re­ports. The Ital­ian vil­lage near Cinque Terre is one of three towns that stands guard over the Gulf of Po­ets, a muse for many writ­ers and painters. The train does not ser­vice Porto Venere, so most peo­ple ar­rive by ferry or car, which keeps the crowds at a min­i­mum. Most of the din­ing, drink­ing and shop­ping is cen­tred along the water­front and on the pedes­trian street, Via Capellini. If you’re lucky, you may cross paths with the local celebrity, Taran­tolino – Europe’s small­est gecko in Porto Venere Regional Park. – Wash­ing­ton Post

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