Venice is trying to limit the number of tourists allowed into parts of the city at any one time.
The clampdown on visitors to one part of Venice falls short of a proposed formal limit on numbers entering the entire city from the mainland, but was a first step towards managing the 25 million annual arrivals.
As 100,000 tourists and locals turned out for a fireworks show on Saturday evening, officials manning access to the streets allowed only 60,000 on to the banks of the Giudecca canal, where the views were best, The Times reported.
The annual celebration marked the end of a plague that ravaged the city in 1577. Officials tracked mobile phone signals to monitor tourists at the weekend.
The next step is likely to be a reservation system for entering St Mark’s Square, with a fixed number of entries per day.
“We need to talk to the church, since St Mark’s cathedral is in the square, but we might have the scheme in place this year,” Paola Mar, a tourism assessor said.
Italy is experiencing a tourism boom, partly because it is deemed a safer destination after terrorist attacks in France, Turkey and north Africa.
About 29 million foreign tourists are expected to visit Italian beaches this year, up by one million on last year. The local population in Venice has already dropped to 55,000 from its 1950s peak of 170,000.