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The Italian Dolomites

First, Cinque Terre started issuing tickets into its picturesque fishing villages to clamp down on the number of travellers visiting. Then, Venice made certain areas verboten to non-residents. Rome, Capri, and Florence have all introduced their own measures to curb over-tourism. And this summer, it's the Dolomites' turn.

The regional government for the UNESCO-protected Italian stretch of the Alps, along the country's north eastern border with Austria, announced in July 2018 that it would turn the popular Passo Sella route into a Limited Traffic Zone (ZTL, per the Italian) through August 31st 2018. The goal is to reduce the number of non-resident vehicles who take the pass - which is often jammed with tour coaches and camera-toting visitors looking for mountain views, especially in early August - by 20 percent. Only 200 cars can enter each morning, and up to 150 in the afternoon. Drivers need to obtain a free entry pass at any of the designated mountain highway entry points, or by smartphone app OpenMove. Passes are valid for just one hour - i.e. no lingering, get a move on - and issued on a first come, first served basis. Nearby areas such as Val Gardena do have regular buses that will be able to drop off and pick up travellers into the pass, the regional government announced.

The Dolomites, which traverse Italy's Trentino-Alto-Adige region and are known for their limestone cliffs, are a popular year-round destination. Adventure and nature travellers  pack the hiking trails around the Sella Pass and lakes in the summer, and those who have deep pockets stay at glitzy ski resorts like Cortina d'Ampezzo in the winter. Just an  hour's drive north of Venice, the area is also a popular scenic route for travellers heading from Venice or Trieste through the mountains to Milan and Lake Como.

With these new restrictions, it's a good idea for travellers who have planned on day tripping to and through the region to consider overnighting instead.


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