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Even the most jaded globetrotter can't help but do a double-take at the sheer originality -- and beauty -- of the centuries-old city built entirely on water.Yet even the quickest visit reveals that Venice is no longer a living city, with scores more tourists than actual Venetians crowding its lagoon, bridges and walkways.Once the Mediterranean's paramount city state, Venice today seems powerless to arrest the trend of evermore tourists and ever fewer residents. When a mammoth cruise ship rammed into a boat packed with tourists last month leaving four injured, civic associations and the dwindling number of Venetians were quick to recall what they have been saying for years: the lagoon is too small and too crowded to accommodate the jumbo cruise ships that appear daily in high season.Nearly 5 million tourists visited the city in 2017, compared with 2.7 million in 2002, according to data from the city's hotels that do not take into account the thousands of bookings with Airbnb Inc. and similar services.Everyone has an opinion on MOSE, a system of mobile gates being built just outside Venice's lagoon to protect it from the impact of the Adriatic Sea.
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