As all of Italy has been placed into lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus, eerie images show a near unrecognisable Venice as popular landmarks are empty of tourists.
The country’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte made the announcement on Monday less than 48 hours after several regions of Italy’s north, including the cities of Milan and Venice, were placed under similar restrictions.
Within hours of the announcement photos taken on March 9 show an empty Rialto bridge, an empty San Marco Square, and empty canals with unused Gondolas.
Under current coronavirus restrictions in Italy, people can only travel if they have valid reason to either for work or emergencies.
Inbound and outbound passengers on flights, will have to justify their travel. Temporary visitors will be allowed to leave the country.
Up until recently, tourists were still braving the local sights, with images from just last week showing visitors wearing face masks.
There have been 463 deaths in the country so far from the virus, the highest toll behind China.
The restrictions also include the closure of museums, theatres, cinemas and other public venues.
The scenes are a stark contrast from last year, with images from May 2019 showing tourists flooding the region.
Tourism is one of the main industries in Venice. Although many residents feel as though tourists can be a nuisance, they cannot ignore the fact that tourism is vital to the city's survival.
It is estimated that approximately 20 million tourists visit Venice annually and that number only increases as each year passes.
It seems to be one thing after the next for Venice, after the city was faced with a major flooding event just last year.
Venice's iconic St Mark's Square was ordered closed in November as the historic city suffered its third major flooding in less than a week.
Venice's latest ‘acqua alta’, or high water, saw around 80 percent of the Renaissance city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, submerged, including churches, shops, and homes.
A massive infrastructure project called MOSE has been under way since 2003 to protect the city, but the multi-billion euro project has been plagued by cost overruns, corruption scandals and delays.
Additional reporting by AFP.
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