Venice had its own ‘Airbnb problem’ during the Renaissance – here’s how it coped

The week’s revelation that London now has one Airbnb listing for every two hotel rooms, together with new analysis of the platform’s extraordinary impact on Edinburgh (the city’s 12,000 Airbnb listings work out at around one for every 42 residents), has led to much lament over ‘hollowed out’ communities, and prompted calls for greater regulation of short lets in urban areas; but rather than taking a heavy-handed approach, today’s policymakers would do well to look at how Renaissance Venice struck a delicate balance between the interests of foreigners and locals, says Rosa Salzberg