Recent campaigns to entice tourists into Venice's back streets have been motivated largely by the premise that it is desirable to relieve pressure on the city's overcrowded core around Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge, and that this is an obvious way to do it. As it happens, such moves have not been especially successful. As tourists to Venice have blossomed in number and have pushed themselves ever more insistently into the city's more intimate spaces, this seemingly tranquil world of campi, calli, and canals has become increasingly contested territory. According to the local police and to those who have studied the patterns of Venetian tourism, it takes around 100,000 visitors coming in a single day to really bring the city to a (literal) standstill. As if the thoroughfares of Venice were not already crowded enough by the tourists themselves, they are further obstructed by scores of street hawkers seeking to fish their own share of profit from the continuous stream of visitors.
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